New Albany heads toward city-wide smoking ban - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Albany heads toward city-wide smoking ban

Both sides of a smoking ban are ready to make more arguments Monday night.

Supporters want an overall ban. Opponents hope for some exceptions.

"What's surprising is that it's inclusive. I really thought they would eliminate the bars and the social clubs," said Sam Anderson, co-owner of Sam's restaurant and bar.

Restaurant and bar co-owner Sam Anderson worries that some of his customers will go elsewhere, just as they fled Louisville after that city passed a similar ban.

"Because I can smoke and I can have a drink. I can have a drink and a cigarette at the same time," said Billie Valla.

That combination now is in legal danger. The proposed New Albany smoking ban would ban smoking in all indoor public places.

It would make exceptions only for private clubs with no employees and retail tobacco stores.

Smokers would also have to keep 20 feet away from any doors and windows. They couldn't just step outside a door and light up.

"This is a very solid ordinance," said Felicia Kerr.

Felicia Kerr with the Floyd County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation campaign helped write the proposal. It's similar to Louisville's smoking ban, because it covers all workplaces and for now, has no exceptions for bars. 

"We do want to ensure that we're protecting all workers. We want to make sure we're not going to have certain exemptions for this hour. A lot of times people will give arguments that it will cost bar and restaurant owners a lot of money," said Kerr.

Sam Anderson worries about losing business to nearby Clarksville. The town board there has shown little interest in a smoking ban.

"Jeffersonville and New Albany always have been envious of Clarksville's retail success, and all they're doing is giving them another feather in their hat," said Anderson.

It's possible a city council member could propose amendments excepting bars or other businesses. Council supporters say it's time to decide the smoking ban.

A decision could come by the end of September. City council takes up the bill for the first time Monday night.

Members expect to hear lots of comments, just as they did at another meeting earlier this month.

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