Prattville – A proposed amendment to Prattville’s current smoking ordinance was discussed Monday night in a public hearing held at City Hall. If the amendment passes, it would make it illegal for anyone under 19 years old to enter or work in a smoking establishment.
Jose Perez, owner of Jose’s Mexican restaurant, spoke in opposition of the amendment.
“I will lose all of my customers to Millbrook because they do not have the smoking ordinance,” Perez said at the podium. “I also would lose six employees who are under 19.”
Blue Iguana General Manager, Chris Zinn, also opposes the amendment to the ordinance.
“We have already visited this issue five years ago,” Zinn said. “It seems that now the rules are changing in the middle of the game.”
Zinn went on to say that 30% of all league bowlers smoke and that when Montgomery adopted this policy, bowlers just quit the sport instead of traveling to Prattville to bowl.
Kim Hunter of Prattville voiced her views in favor of the ordinance.
“If 30% of the bowlers do smoke, then there is 70% who do not smoke and that is the majority,” she said. “I do not think that the smokers will quit bowling.”
A representative from the community coalition group P.A.S.S. (Peers are Staying Straight), Sam Gill, said that second-hand smoke can be just as dangerous as smoking itself.
“I think it’s rather disappointing that these business owners care more about their revenues and the teenager’s job than the teenager’s health,” Gill stated.
After the hearing, Councilman Tom Miller (who introduced the amendment) stated that he did not know if there would be enough votes it to pass.
“Obviously, Dean Argo and myself sponsored the 2003 ordinance, so we’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “One other says he will support it, so I need a fourth vote.”
Miller, a physician, also relayed the fact that children are at risk if they are in a smoking establishment.
“I’m well aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke,” he continued. “At the end of the day, I respect where the business owners are coming from but I can’t put a dollar value on the health aspect. That just has no price to me.”
The smoking ordinance will be on the agenda of the regular City Council meeting on November 17.
Article by Melissa Parker
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