Commission Will Decide Smoking Debate

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

The Bowling Green City Commission will soon decide the fate of the city's smokers .

Months of debate between those favoring the smoking ban and those opposing the idea will finally come before the commission's desk.

Commissioner Brian 'Slim' Nash will give the commission its first look at an ordinance aimed at cleaning the smoke out of local areas.

In the ordinance, restaurants and bars would go non-smoking.

Hospital campuses would stay smoke-free.

However, hotel and motel rooms wouldn't be affected.

With a final decision looming, we talked to two people on opposite sides of the fence.

Imagine seeing a "No Smoking" sign in every public establishment you walk into.

It's a reality that would suit Lori Monroe just fine.

"It's very important for me to be able to breathe clean air. I have only about 40-percent of my lung capacity and I can't tolerate being around smoke in any way," Monroe said.

She's a lung cancer survivor who says she has to protect what lung tissue she has left, but she says she's not trying to tell others what to do.

"I'm not telling anyone they need to quit smoking, I'm just saying I have the right to clean air," Monroe explained.

Roger Miller of the American Legion sympathizes with those who don't like secondhand smoke, but he says putting a ban on nicotine could close the legion's doors.

"I'd say 60-percent of our bingo players smoke and that's going to send those people to Franklin where they can smoke. So it would probably put us out of business," Miller said.

The legion accommodates non-smokers by giving them a section of the building. He says that city government shouldn't have a say in the decision.

"It's up to every individual and up to each individual business," Miller added.

Monroe says in her mind, not adopting the ban says only one thing to the city.

"It would send a message that the city just plain doesn't care about the health of citizens," she admitted.

Miller says the money generated by the bingo games also goes to many worthwhile causes throughout the area.

The commission will discuss the matter Aug. 7 during its regular work session at 4 p.m.


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