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Simpsonville to review proposal to go smoke-free

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Simpsonville smokers and nonsmokers may be waiting with bated breath while the City Council reviews a proposed smoking ordinance.

After changes were made, the Simpsonville council voted 5-2 to table the proposed ordinance so it could further review it. Council members Julius Welborn and Geneva Lawrence voted against tabling it.

The ordinance as proposed now encompasses all public places and places of employment, said Russell Hawes, city administrator.

“The effect of this, really, is if it’s a place of employment, it would have to be smoke-free,” Hawes said. “If it’s a public gathering area, be it outside, inside, whatever — smoke-free. That is the major change. ”

City Attorney David Holmes said the ordinance was expanded because “if it is a public health issue, the question then becomes why should the prohibition be limited or restricted to a few places and not others.”

Craig Boatman said the proposed ordinance was so different than it was during a first reading that the vote should have been considered another first reading. Boatman spoke in opposition to the ordinance before the changes were presented.

Councilman Brown Garrett echoed the sentiment. “It looks like to me we’re voting on this ordinance for the first time with all the amendments that have been put in place,” Garrett said.

“I would like to see us at least give this thing two weeks for the people of the city to see the changes that have been made in this ordinance instead of voting it through tonight,” he said.

Councilman Matthew Gooch said he wanted time to look at the ordinance. “This is very different than what we were given initially,” Gooch said.

“I’m not going to get in to what’s right and what’s wrong, is it bad or is it good. Smoking’s bad, of course we all know that. I want a little time to dig through this to make sure I know what I’m voting for before I say yes or no on it.”

Several residents spoke on the original ordinance at a recent meeting: Graham Parker, a cardiologist; Bill Schmidt, a pediatrician and medical director of the Children’s Hospital in the Greenville Hospital System; Tiffany Linder, American Lung Association regional director; and Lillie Hall, associate director of health education with state Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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