Charleston County bans public indoor smoking

“There are 20-25 other bars in Mount Pleasant alone where they don’t allow smoking,” said Robert Wyndham (left), “so you can go to one of those if you don’t want to be around smoke.” Employee Elizabeth Osteen (center) added, “A lot of our [Richard’s Bar & Grill] customers come here because they can smoke.”

Charleston County Council approved a public indoor smoking ban with a 7-1 vote tonight. It goes in effect Oct. 4.

Council members Colleen Condon, Dickie Schweers, Henry Darby, Anna Johnson, Teddie Pryor, Joe Qualey and Herb Sass voted for the ban. Elliott Summey was opposed. Vic Rawl did not attend the meeting,

Charleston County joins a growing list of local municipalities that have banned smoking in workplaces, including the city of Charleston and the town of Mount Pleasant.

Smoking bans are spreading in Charleston County after Sullivan’s Island’s first-in-the-state ban in 2006.

Neither Dorchester nor Berkeley counties ban smoking, although Dorchester County Council considered it last year. The town of Summerville, however, has banned smoking.

The trend is good news for Bill Settlemyer from the Smoke-free Lowcountry Coalition. He thinks County Council made a positive move for the health of the community, he said. He also said studies have shown that local smoking bans don’t harm business in establishments that enforce them. “So case closed,” he said.

Materials provided to council members and the public prior to the meeting state that the ban would require employers to provide a smoke-free environment for all employees, which includes prohibiting smoking in all areas of workplaces. It also would require written copies of the policy to be distributed to all employees and to be posted in highly visible locations.

It would, however, allow certain exceptions, including permitting smoking in private residences; and some rooms in hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts.

Read more later at and in tomorrow’s newspaper.