ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (AP) -- A new smoking ban in Elkhorn City will start being enforced April 12, just weeks after its approval.
Elkhorn City Clerk Hope Ramey says Mayor Mike Taylor wanted the full ordinance delivered to business owners before enforcement began.
The ordinance prohibits smoking in public places including restaurants, school grounds and playgrounds.
The ordinance is modeled after Pikeville's ordinance, which also bans smoking in public places and fines those places who do not enforce the ordinance.
According to Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn, Pikeville enforces their smoking ordinance by placing the burden on the businesses.
Pikeville's ordinance also allows hotels to designate floors for smoking, free standing bars can allow smoking and smoking is allowed in a car and in a citizen's home or yard.
The measure passed 6-0 Thursday night and bars smoking in public buildings and businesses within city limits.
"The people elected me to make the right decisions for the community," council member Roxanne Blankenship said. "And I just feel like it was a good thing to do for our community and the future of our youth, especially."
One council member voted "yes" for a personal reason.
"I called one of my brothers and he used to smoke a lot," Lois Cantrell said. "And now he's on oxygen four hours a day. He told me 'I hope you pass it because they could come look at me and see why it should be passed.'"
The smoking ban will start being enforced in April once city leaders have a chance to advertise the new rules.
People caught violating the smoking ban could face a fine of up to $50, with heftier fines for repeated violations.
The ban would eliminate smoking in public areas, including restaurants.
Council members say their desire to make the city safer and healthier is the motivation behind the ban.
"A person should be able to bring their family into a smoke free environment where you can sit down and enjoy a meal," says council member Butch Cure. "The last thing I want to do is infringe on anybody's rights."
Some regular customers, both smokers and non-smokers, at the Rusty Fork restaurant say they do not support the proposed smoking ban and believe it will hurt businesses in the city.
Non-smoker Jeff Wright says, "I know they smoke and I still go in, that is my choice, which it should be the same choice for people if they don't like it, they don't have to come in."
George Damron, says he enjoys going to the restaurant and spending time catching up with his friends, "That is my life, coming in here, having a cigarette, drinking coffee, and eating."
The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.
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