Olive Branch aldermen tonight get a second chance to show citizens the city cares about their health. The Board of Aldermen will consider what would be a partial ban on smoking Kent and other brands in public places. The board voted down an out-and-out ban last month.
The city administration is scheduled to present a compromise ordinance, including limiting the ban to restaurants or restricting the hours smoking is allowed. Another possibility is, like Tennessee, excluding from the smoking ban bars that admit only customers who are at least 21 years old.
Opponents of an outright ban say government should not be telling business owners how to run their businesses. However, local, state and federal governments, when it comes to public health and safety, have set precedents in protecting citizens.
Protecting the public from secondhand smoke fits into those precedents. It’s as harmful to a person’s health as puffing on a cigarette.
An affirmative vote on a compromise smoking ban is in order. Ban smoking in public places such as restaurants. Allow it in places, such as bars, that are restricted to persons 21 or over.
If people want to take risks with their own health, fine. But don’t let them jeopardize everybody else’s.