By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford City Council members are considering the first draft of a no smoking ordinance in eating establishments.
Council members received copies of the proposed ordinance at Tuesday’s regular meeting. There was no discussion Tuesday on the proposed local legislation. Discussion of the item is planned for council’s scheduled Feb. 25 meeting. Residents on both sides of the issue are encouraged to attend and speak.
According to the draft ordinance, second-hand smoke is responsible for the deaths of about 53,000 Americans annually, based on a 1999 study completed by the National Cancer Institute, and is responsible for the onset of a number of health problems, including heart attacks and lung cancer.
Under the proposed ordinance, “eating establishment” means “any enclosed area of an establishment that offers for sale food or beverages for on-premises human consumption. The term includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, coffee shops, cafeterias, short order cafes, fast food establishments, convenience stores with delis, bistros, luncheonettes, lunchrooms, soda fountains and catering establishments, or any other business of whatever kind that packages, serves, vends, or prepares food or beverage for on-premises consumption.”
Under the proposed ordinance, smoking would also be prohibited within 10 linear feet from the primary public entrance or any operable window of an eating establishment. Owners/operators of eating establishments commit an offense if the person fails to “take necessary steps to prevent or stop another person from smoking in an enclosed area of an eating establishment.”
Businesses would also be required to place well-marked signs of the smoking ban in their establishment.
Smoking would be allowed in a completely separated area within the eating establishment where no food is offered or consumed and specifically designed as a smoking facility for products sold on the premises (cigar bar, smoking lounge, etc.) The area must have a separate exhaust and air conditioning system from the rest of the facility.