Group asks council to ban smoking inside Lubbock businesses

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 7/11/2014 1:14 pm
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The West Texas Smoke Free Coalition and Smoke-Free Texas Coalition is calling on the Lubbock City Council to ban smoking inside businesses.

For ex-smoker Lydia Hockenberry, going to work at the bingo hall is a cloudy experience.

"It can get pretty smokey in here and it can get pretty thick," Hockenberry said. "We have exhaust fans. We have to keep the exhaust fans on to kind of help circulate the air and kind of clear the smoke out. In the summertime, when we turn the exhaust fans on, it pulls all of the air conditioning out."

The West Texas Smoke Free Coalition is working to help employees, like Hockenberry, avoid that second hand smoke.

"Our coalition is here today to request that the Lubbock City Council direct our city attorney to draft a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance in order to protect the employees and citizens of Lubbock by providing them clean air to breathe," Chairman of the West Texas Smoke Free Coalition Matthew Harris said.

37 other cities in Texas have already passed smoke-free ordinances.

"Lubbock should be number 38," Harris said.

If passed, the ordinance would only ban smoking in indoor business areas. So patios, decks or outdoor smoking sections would still be allowed.

"Some businesses have decided to be non-smoking, and they're very successful. But they're focused on that," concerned citizen Scott Stephenson said. "There's a lot of other businesses, depending on the socio-economic customer base, people ought to be able to decide, 'hey, our customers want this.' Or not."

For bingo player Luz Jimenez, the bingo hall is the only place she CAN smoke.

"I have two little boys at home," Jimenez said. "I know that it's bad to be smoking around them. So this is one of the times that I get out and enjoy myself. I don't want to be around them smoking in the house."

Those opposed to the ordinance say if the employees don't like the smoke they should work somewhere else.

"It's up to people to decide if they want to go in there. And it's up to the employees to decide if they want to work there," Stephenson said.

"For employees to have to uproot their lives because of someone else's habit, that's unfair to those employees," Harris said.

Unfair to employees like Hockenberry who has worked bingo for 27 years.

"Well I'm not forced to be here. It's my job," Hockenberry said. "I love my job. I guess I could go find another job, but I don't want to do so."

At least 69 chemicals in secondhand smoke are known to cause cancer.

The West Texas Smoke Free Coalition is requesting that all Lubbock citizens contact their city council person and direct them, as their constituent, to direct the city attorney to draft the ordinance.
3 Comment(s)
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Shark - 7/11/2014 5:41 PM
0 Votes
If a place has a warning sign that smoking is allowed in the building, I don't go in. As an adult, I have the power to refuse to enter a building. However, if a child is with his/her parents, and they take their child into the building, the children do not have the authority to refuse the commands of their parents. Who will stand up for them? We already know that their parents don't care. I understand that a bar that has no other function whatsoever, as opposed to a food service or entertainment place that happens to also sell alcohol, doesn't allow children to enter. I don't care if places, whose exclusive income is from alcohol and/or tobacco, allow smoking. Entertainment centers, food service places, retail outlets, etc, are open to families. Those who condemn children to breathe such smoke have condemned souls. We know how the mayor feels about protecting children within public places in the city. He was notified with a heart attack last year, and a gall bladder attack this year. I am unaware of how the lord will gently tap the other condemned members of the council.

TTU06 - 7/11/2014 1:34 PM
0 Votes
There is a huge difference in government buildings being smoke free and private businesses being forced to be smoke free. You do not own city hall any more than you own the park down the street. The public can let businesses know that they want to go where smoke is not allowed by only going to places that don't allow it. We do not need any more government interference telling us what we can and can't do. Don't like it? Don't go there. The places in town that went smoke free voluntarily seem to be doing fine. This is coming from someone who has never been a smoker.

Shark - 7/11/2014 12:50 AM
0 Votes
Since the government had mandated that city hall and other government buildings be smoke free, the public should be entitled to the service of a smoke free workplace on terms as favorable as the mayor and council enjoy while at work. We the people are the owners of city hall. We, the owners of city hall, declare that city hall must have no more protection for its non-smoking workers, than the non-smoking private sector workers receive from city hall. Everyone, no matter the employer, should receive the same protection under the law, period. Those who hide behind the dias in room 101, who refuse to use their council vote to give us the protection they enjoy, can face recall petitions and recall elections. The recall petitioners are becoming much more efficient. It is virtually as easy to recall 6 council members and a mayor, as it was to merely recall a mayor.
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