Hundreds Protest Smoking Ban in Petition

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Bowling Green could become the next smoke-free city in Kentucky but some residents are just saying no to the idea.

Talk of whether or not Bowling Green will become the next smoke free city in Kentucky is heating up. Last week the Chamber of Commerce sent out a smoking poll to it's business partners for feedback on the issue. The Chamber's poll is supposed to end March 16, 2007.

Now a concerned citizen is taking matters into his own hands. Mike Wilson is a smoker on a mission.

"On a smoking ban, I can see like the offices where a smoking ban would benefit but I still think bars and restaurants should make their own decisions," Wilson said. He also told us that he currently has 700 names on his petition against a smoking ban, all 700 of which feel the same way.

"You've got the right to go to one restaurant or another. Four-forty Main, in Bowling Green, chose to go smoke-free," Wilson said and he plans to take his research to the Bowling Green City Commission.

"You got your right to choose ... it's freedom of choice," Wilson explained and Teresa's restaurant waitress Julana Smith agrees. She made the choice to quit after 25 years.

"One of the best things I ever did," Juliana said although she's around it every day.

"Well a lot of times you go up to a table and they've got a cigarette like this and you're like (moves) ... it's not pleasant," Juliana added.

"I reek. If it's in my hair, clothes, skin, I can't imagine what it's doing to my insides," Juliana said.

The effects of second hand smoke are the reason many restaurants have a smoking section and why cities are going smoke free.

Julana likes her job and feels a city-wide smoking ban would be healthier since she's constantly suffering the imediate effects of second-hand smoke.

"Makes your nose burn, eyes burn, throat and a lot of times I've got a headache," Juliana said.

Despite what research said about cigarette and second hand smoke, Wilson and 700 other Bowling Green residents say it's not a matter of health, it's a matter of taking away their right to choose.

Several cities around Kentucky, including the state's two largest metro areas, Louisville and Lexington, have enacted smoking bans.

Wilson plans to present his petition to the City Commission on March 20, 2007.

To view Mike Wilson's smoking ban petition, click here.