WF Woman Wants to Ban Smoking in Restaurants

A Wichita Falls woman wants smoking banned in restaurants. Sonya Roberts started an online petition two days ago and she's also walked around town getting people to sign the petition on paper. Combining both she's received nearly 300 signatures.

She doesn't want children and adults subjected to unwanted second hand smoke and that's why she's calling for a ban on smoking inside restaurants.

The idea started when she was sitting down, eating dinner at a popular restaurant.

"I went to Buffalo Wild Wings and tried to eat and the smoke was so overwhelming even though they had designated smoking areas I just couldn't stand it," she said.

With that experience she got on her computer and when to and created a petition.

"A lot of people visit here and they are from out of town and they are from places
that smoking is 100 percent banned so it's pretty much like it's needed."

Nearly all major cities in Texas and nearby Vernon have smoking bans in place for restaurants and bars. Right now there's even a bill filed by a state senator that's looking to ban smoking in all indoor and outdoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants statewide.
David Sewell is against any kind of ban, especially in eating joints.

"They have a no smoking section and a smoking section that ought to be good enough," he said.

The current city ordinance does allow restaurants  to allow customers to light up but they also have the authority to establish it as non-smoking. A couple years ago a group called Clean Air Wichita Falls tried to get a stricter smoking ban for the city but nothing happened.

The next legal step would be an initiative petition. According to the city ordinance that must be signed by at least 10 percent of people who voted in the last municipal election. Once that happens the signatures will have to be verified and the council will look at it for possible action and it can also be submitted for vote during an election.

This past summer the city required that city employees who smoke to pay more for health insurance than employees who don't smoke. If they do they city charges them an extra $20 a month for health insurance.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.