Smoke Free Falls: Wichita Falls City Council Passes Smoking Ban - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Smoke Free Falls

Smoke Free Falls: Wichita Falls City Council Passes Smoking Ban by One Vote

Wichita Falls City Council has passed a public smoking ban.

Enforcement begins July 17th, with certain exemptions, including private residences. Bingo establishments have one year to comply. Bars and restaurants have two years to make their establishments smoke free. 

Council passed the ban Tuesday morning, but not before allowing time for comments. Mayor Glenn Barham gave equal time to those for and against the ordinance to make their case to the council.

"This ordinance is about health and health outcomes in our community," said Lou Kreidler, Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health Director. "There is no doubt passing this ordinance today is the right choice for Wichita Falls."

Medical professionals cited the health benefits of such a law. "In Wichita County, 21 percent of people smoke. That means 79 percent do not smoke. Seventy-nine percent should overcome the minority of 21 percent," said Anne Rizzo, a Wichita Falls surgeon. 

One man, who doesn't smoke, spoke against the ban. "So who are you all to come and say you can't have this anymore," said Lester Craig. "Are you above what our founding fathers built this country on? Are you really? Many people have a feeling that this is their right." 

In the end it came down to a hand vote. The council voted four to three to pass the ordinance.

The ordinance will be enforced by police patrols, and a person can report a violation to the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Heath District. The District does have the authority to suspend or revoke a permit or license issued by the Director to the operator of a public place. 

You can read the Smoking Ordinance by clicking on the council agenda link found below. The ordinance can be found on pages 42-49. 

Wichita Falls City Council Agenda June 17th

Jack Carney, Newschannel6

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