The Lubbock City Council will meet this week and could vote to approve an ordinance that would ban smoking in all bars and restaurants across the city. The ordinance would not only apply to cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, but to e-cigarettes and vapor as well. The proposed language would also regulate drivers who smoke in certain circumstances.
An organization called the West Texas Smoke-Free Coalition has been in the planning process and attending city council meetings for months. The group is led by Lubbock Attorney Matthew Harris and claim that they are pursuing an expanded smoking ban in Lubbock in order to protect the health of employees at bars and restaurants. Lubbock already has a smoking ban in place at restaurants but Harris and his organization which has been supported by the American Cancer Society, believe the current ordinance does not go far enough.
The proposed language of the ordinance to be voted on during Thursday’s council meeting is much more far reaching than had been anticipated. The proposed smoking ban would ban all products with tobacco and nicotine including the very popular e-cigarettes and vapor which are two products that are popular among ex-tobacco users. The ordinance would impact all businesses in the city of Lubbock with employees.
Section 8.17.033 of the ordinance bans smoking in outdoor areas as well. Including within 20 feet of outdoor seating or serving areas as well as within 20 feet of entrances and working windows. These two rules could put in jeopardy some patio seating at restaurants. One outdoor area that is included in this section has raised eyebrows as it could lead to banning smoking in a citizen’s car at certain times. This would ban smoking, “In all outdoor service lines, including lines in which service is obtained by persons in vehicles, such as service that is provided by bank tellers, parking lot attendants, and toll takers. In lines in which service is obtained by persons in vehicles, smoking is prohibited by both pedestrians and persons in vehicles, but only within 20 feet of the point of service.”