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BROOKS, KY. (WDRB) -- Just seven days before the start of a smoking ban in Bullitt County, and there is still no word on whether it's legal.
"Now they're telling us we can't smoke," says Michael Broughton. "I don't believe the government should regulate that."
Perched next to friends in the Hillview Lounge, a beer to the side and cigarette in hand, he's wondering how long that will last. "This is a little ridiculous," he says.
Every ashtray in every bar will have to be picked up by September 19th in Bullitt County. That's the day the smoking ban takes effect -- that is, unless a judge rules against it.
Nine cities, including Hillview, and Bullitt County itself are suing to block the county health department's smoking regulation, saying the agency overstepped its bounds in making the new law.
The ban would prohibit smoking in the workplace, as well as in public bars and restaurants. Violators face up to a $500 fine and businesses who ignore it could lose their license.
Director Swannie Jett explains, "So what is it -- is it a health issue or a legality issue?" Jett says with no ruling from the court, his office plans to move forward and enforce the law in a week. "I feel pretty confident we did the right procedures," he says. "We got buy-in from the community, so I feel confident the judge will come back in our favor."
Peggy Thurmond of the Hillview Lounge points out, "All you have to do is go across the river and you can smoke." And that's exactly what Broughton fears will happen, putting out the business in Bullitt County.
"The thing of it is, we cannot as a community afford a loss of anything else," says Broughton.
Yet Jett cites a survey that says 75 percent of the residents in Bullitt County want a smoking ban. He says if the judge doesn't come back in his favor, he will appeal.