COURT: health department's smoking ban upheld in Bullitt County - WDRB 41 Louisville News

COURT: health department's smoking ban upheld in Bullitt County

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Smoking in Bullitt County, Ky. will continue to be prohibited in most public places.

A three-judge panel from the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday in favor of the Bullitt County Health Department and its authority to ban smoking. The ruling says the health department does have the authority to create and regulate secondhand smoke and institute bans, so long as it doesn't conflict with other laws.

At issue was not the ban's popularity, but rather whether the non-elected members of the board of health had the ability to create a regulation and then have other local governments uphold that. The court ruled it did.

"I think should be up to the owner. They own the place," said Richard Beckmann, a life-long smoker.

The ability to light up inside the City Limits Bar and Grill is why there's rarely an open bar stool.

"Our revenue has gone up at least 20 percent due to the other areas that don't allow smoking," said Heidi Hester, a bartender there.

The bar has ignored the county-wide ban on smoking in public places – instead, the owners chose to keep its customers happy by allowing them to smoke indoors.

"I've smoked all my life. I wish I never had. But when you've smoked for 50 years, you are probably not going to quit," said Beckmann.

The smaller cities like Shepherdsville, Mt. Washington, Hillview and others had collectively sued the county health department claiming it didn't have the authority. On that point they lost 2 to 1.

"It's not a smoking issues... our mayor doesn't smoke, none of council people smoke, it's a separation of powers issue," said Norman Lemme, the Mt. Washington city attorney told WDRB News during a phone interview.

There's little you can do to convince these smokers that the ban was a good idea.

 "I was at another place today that doesn't allow smoking. But I can adjust. But it should be up to the property owner," said Beckmann

The ban prohibits smoking in the workplace, as well as in public bars and restaurants.

Copyright 2012 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.

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