Town Council approves smoking ban

By David Fenker

NORTH MANCHESTER – The town’s Manchester's Main Street may soon be smoke-free.

The NORTH MANCHESTER Town Council passed on first reading an ordinance prohibiting smoking on all public property, in all businesses or within 15 feet of a door or window of a location where smoking is banned, at the June 6 meeting. This would effectively ban smoking on Main Street, except within private residences and designated smoking areas at local businesses.

With council member Laura Rager absent, the council voted 4-0 in favor of the ordinance.

Per the council's bylaws, the ordinance must undergo two additional readings before becoming effective.

“I think that this ordinance is a reasonable ordinance,” council member Jim Smith said. “It does enhance the state law, as far as banning smoking and tobacco-related things in public places, but it's time to do that. All the evidence is there to say that it's an important thing to do. … I think it's the right thing to do.”

The Indiana Smoke Free Air Law, established in 2012, bans smoking within eight feet of a public entrance, within most places of employment, most public spaces and restaurants.

It permits smoking within bars, taverns, tobacco retail shops, and certain membership clubs.

As written, the town ordinance bans smoking in all of those locations permitted by the state law, as well as in enclosed public spaces, including libraries, museums, retail stores, bars, healthcare facilities, educational facilities, elevators, hotels and motels, restaurants and common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, trailer parks and retirement facilities.

Additionally, the ordinance bans smoking in or on all town-owned facilities and property – including parking lots and parks – as well as at FunFest and other public events and festivals.

Smoking is also prohibited in enclosed places of employment and outdoor places of employment.

Private residences (except those used as a childcare, adult day care or healthcare facility) are exempt from the ban.
Several other, more specific locations are listed on the ordinance, which can be viewed at Town Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Council president Chalmer “Toby” Tobias noted appreciation for the collaboration on the ordinance between the Wabash County Tobacco Free Coalition, the council and local businesses.

“I think it was done all in a spirit of goodwill and understanding, so I was very happy to see that,” he said.

The coalition is also working with the City of Wabash to establish a similar ban there.

Council members Tom Dale and Allen Miracle also expressed support of the ordinance.

“I think the response that we received was, for the most part, very positive,” Dale said. “We are enhancing the amount of room in front of businesses, … and we are also looking at FunFest, where we have a lot of kids around, being smoke-free. I think that is a very positive thing for the town.”

Miracle thanked Dan Gray, of Wabash County Tobacco Free Coalition, for approaching the town regarding the ordinance.

Posted on 2018 Jun 12