Goose Creek — Regardless of their personal opinions, most of the members of City Council were reluctant on Tuesday to support a proposed citywide smoking ban.
“Is it our place to tell business owners what they can and cannot do?” said Councilman Jerry Tekac. “This is going to be a very difficult decision for me.”
The council considered a proposed ordinance during a special workshop that would make it illegal to smoke in public places and places of employment within city limits. It would allow smoking on porches and decks more than 10 feet from a building’s entrance. Violators could be fined $10 to $25.
The issue was brought before council by Franklin Moore, who was elected earlier this year. Moore said he was not pushing the ban through but felt like it was something council should consider. The council did not support a similar law in 2009.
“Some things never go away,” said Mayor Mike Heitzler. “We don’t enforce any other health codes. Why do we just pick out one? Because it’s emotional and everybody has an opinion.”
Councilman Mark Phillips was the only one who spoke in favor of the ban. “Employers should not be allowed to poison the work environment,” he said. “I was in favor of this before when we considered it, and I have not changed my mind.”
Most of the council said the decision should be up to business owners. “Restaurant owners can put out ‘no smoking’ signs,” said Councilwoman Marguerite Brown. “It’s not our responsibility to decide for everybody.”
Four residents spoke about the issue; two were for it and two against. The proposal will go before City Council at its Dec. 11 meeting. If council supports it, it will have a second reading before becoming law.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.