Gainesville passes its first smoking ordinance

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- Smokers in Gainesville will no longer be allowed to light up in certain buildings or even outside on some city properties and you could pay a hefty fine if you do.

Gainesville city officials passed the city's first ever smoking ordinance Tuesday night. Aaron Smith lives in town and he's happy about the new law.

"I'm delighted it's passed, I think it's reasonable. Not allowing smoking in bars wouldn't be reasonable I don't think because people go to bars to drink and smoke, but in restaurants where we go and take our children, that secondhand smoke doesn't just stay in the smoking section," he said.

But business owner, Johnny Glass doesn't agree with the decision.

"I think they made a mistake. Like I said, you can't start exempting certain businesses that are the root cause of the problem if they were truly issued or interested in it as a health issue," he said.

"You can still smoke. It's 20 feet, 7 yards from a doorway in town, in the streets, but in parks, in public areas like ball fields, stands, stadiums, any business with an employee will be a non-smoking community."

Mayor Jim Goldsworthy said the ban does not apply if the business is a tobacco store, a bar or a private residence--not used as a daycare or healthcare facility. He said council approved the new ordinance after hearing concerns from residents regarding secondhand smoke.

"Gainesville's a safer and healthier place for our citizens and our children. The science behind secondhand smoke is real, smoke is invasive, it affects everyone sitting around them," he said.

Glass said he'll have to work to make sure his business stays compliant.

"I think it's kind of a catch 22 on their part, but that's okay. I'll just turn my restaurant into a bar," he said.

Violators of this ordinance can face up to a $500 fine for each offense.
The new ordinance is effective immediately.

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