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Another smoking proposal for Springfield?

A new smoking proposal for Springfield may be on the horizon.

Some citizens have proposed trying to craft a compromise that would permit smoking at some places, such as bingo halls and stores focused on selling tobacco products, the News-Leader reported in its Sunday edition. Some advocates of a smoking ban are willing to talk, but the discussion is still in the beginning stages.

According the News-Leader, local banker Derek Fraley pitched the idea of a task force to the City Council. The mayor said he’d like to meet with Fraley before pushing ahead with the suggestion.

Shortly after the failure of the previous proposal, O’Neal — a bill sponsor and proponent — suggested the One Air Alliance and other nonsmoking advocates try an initiative petition to put the issue before Springfield voters.

Though One Air Alliance doesn’t mention the June 28 meeting on its Web site, it issued a note on its Facebook page after the meeting.

The statement raises issues with an ordinance that has exemptions:

One Air Alliance made the decision to withdraw support from the amended ordinance because of the loopholes and exemptions the proposed amendments would have created in our community. As the ordinance was amended by council, the language opened the door to any fraternal or “benevolent” organization to open a facility that would allow smoking, without taking the due time to clearly define what these terms mean. This type of weak ordinance ends up compromising the health of workers and offers false reassurance to the public, repeating the mistakes of the existing 2003 smokefree ordinance.

One commenter on the News-Leader article noted that national nonsmoking groups such as Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights advocate smoking laws with no exemptions (PDF of “Fundamentals of Smokefree Workplace Laws.”).

What do you think? How should the discussion proceed?

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