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New Smoking Ordinance in Florence City

Vogue cigarettes onlineDoes the new smoking ordinance really have public support or have members of the Florence City Council just been “blowing smoke?” Residents and council members alike will have a chance to find out Thursday when the first public hearing to discuss the measure that would essentially ban Vogue smoking inside most city businesses will be held.

The hearing will take place at Moore Intermediate School, located at 1101 Cheraw Drive, Thursday, March 3 at 5:30p.m. immediately following a special council meeting at the offices of Stifel Nicolaus financial advisors on 1325 Cherokee Road at 4:00p.m.

According to an agenda released Tuesday, council will enter into executive session shortly after their 4:00p.m. meeting starts to discuss a contractual and personnel matter.

The ordinance was introduced by Councilwoman Octavia Williams-Blake—a driving force behind another smoking ordinance that failed to pass council by just one vote in 2009— on Feb. 14 along with Buddy Brand, Teresa Myers Ervin and Glynn Willis, as well as Mayor Stephen J. Wukela.

Williams-Blake said Tuesday she expected a decent turnout for the March 3 hearing.

“It was moved to this venue (Moore Intermediate School) with the expectation that we could accommodate a larger crowd,” Williams-Blake said .

The councilwoman said she was unsure if there would be another public hearing on the smoking ordinance before final vote on the measure is held April 14. Council is scheduled to hold first reading on the ordinance at their March 14 meeting.

A city employee close to council said there was only one public hearing when the ordinance was proposed in 2009.

Councilman Steve Powers has repeatedly spoken out in opposition to the ordinance and said Tuesday he was the one who asked that Thursday’s public forum be held. The councilman said he requested council have a dialogue with supporters and dissenters of the smoking ban.

Even though the measure was significantly reduced from its 2009 counterpart, Powers said it would still infringe on the rights of property owners and overstep the bounds of government.

“What worries me most and what a lot of people are telling me is that this council is getting away from letting the public come out and tell them what they want,” Powers said Tuesday. “All they care about is if they have four votes and that’s a sad state of government, in my opinion.”

The councilman said another public hearing could be held before final vote on the ordinance April 14.

This will be the third time a smoking ordinance has gone before the city’s council and the second in nearly two years. The first attempt at a smoking ban failed in 2005, according to Williams-Blake.

Councilman Ed Robinson is the only member currently serving who was on council for all three ordinances.

The councilman said another public hearing could be held before final vote on the ordinance April 14.

Powers said he would support a smoking ban at the state level pertaining to restaurants and other areas where the public may gather but said having such an ordinance for city businesses creates would be unfair for those establishments.

Four bills proposing various kinds of state wide smoking bans in restaurants, bars, lounge areas and recreational facilities as well as one making it illegal to smoke cigarettes in a motor carrying certain children were pre-filed in the S.C. House in December. All of the proposed bills, including one amendment, are currently in committee.

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Jessica Miller is a professional author of many tobacco articles, trained seminars from New York to London contributing to the success of this area in the U.S. At present writes about everything that is interesting especially about cheap cigarettes online store, tobacco related subjects and cigarette effects.

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