2017-08-09 / Local News

City reverses course on smoking ban: passes first reading

Ledger Staff Writer

On second thought, Gaffney City Councilman Harold Littlejohn now realizes the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Four months after voting against a smoking ban, Littlejohn on Monday joined council members Charles Montgomery and Bernard Smith and Gaffney Mayor Henry Jolly in approving on first reading a smoking ban in restaurants, public buildings and parks.

Following the meeting, Litltejohn said he changed his vote after learning more about the health issues and risks of smoking.

Councilmen Billy Love, Glenn Fuller and Boone Peeler voted against the ban for the second time in four months.

Prior to the roll call vote, Love said he thought the issue was decided and council would leave it up to the restaurant owners whether to ban smoking in their businesses.

In saying he would allow the vote to move forward, Jolly said any issue can be reintroduced at a later meeting.

The only restriction is that the issue can’t be voted on again before that meeting is adjourned, Jolly said.

For years, though, council worked under the assumption that only a council member who voted in the affirmative could make a motion on the issue.

The ban needs to be approved on second reading to go into effect.

The City of Gaffney Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2017

Sec. 1. Title

This Ordinance shall be known as the City of Gaffney Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2017.

Sec. 2. Findings and Intent

The Gaffney City Council does hereby find that:

A. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, ‘The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,’ has concluded that secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.

B. Accordingly, the Gaffney City Council finds and declares that the purposes of this ordinance are (1) to protect the public health and welfare by prohibiting smoking in certain places; and (2) to guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and to recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.

Sec. 3. Definitions

The following words and phrases, whenever used in this Ordinance, shall be construed as defined in this Section:

A. ‘E-cigarette’ means any electronic oral device, such as one composed of a heating element, battery, and/or electronic circuit, which provides a vapor of nicotine or any other substances, and the use of inhalation of which simulates smoking. The term shall include any such device, whether manufactured, distributed, marketed, or sold as an e-cigarette, e-cigar, e-cigarillo, e-pipe, or under any other product name or descriptor.

B. ‘Enclosed Area’ means all space between a floor and a ceiling that is bounded on all sides by walls, doorways, or windows, whether open or closed. A wall includes any retractable divider, garage door, or other physical barrier, whether temporary or permanent.

C. “Restaurant’ means facilities in which food is directly provided to humans including but not limited to cafeterias, lunchrooms, cafes, bistros, fast-food establishments, food stands, catering facilities, hospital kitchens, daycare kitchens, and nursing home kitchens, and where the receipts for the sale of prepared food comprise the majority of revenue for said facility.

D. ‘Smoking’ means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, or pipe, or any other lighted tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, in any manner or in any form. ‘Smoking’ also includes the use of an e-cigarette which creates a vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking in this Ordinance.

E. ‘Public Building’ means a building that belongs to, or is under the control of, a city, town, county, state, or federal government or any agency of the afore-stated government entities.

Sec. 4. Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Places

Without exception, smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed restaurants and public buildings within the City of Gaffney.

Sec. 5. Prohibition of Smoking in Outdoor Areas

Smoking shall be prohibited in the following outdoor places:

A. Within 10 feet outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilations systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited, so as to prevent tobacco smoke from entering those areas.

B. In, and within 10 feet of, outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants; all outdoor amphitheaters; all outdoor public shelters, and outdoor playgrounds and parks, under the control or authority of the City of Gaffney.

Sec. 6. Where Smoking Not Regulated

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Ordinance to the contrary, the following areas shall be exempt from the provisions of Sections 4 and 5:

A. Private residences, unless used as a childcare, adult day care, or health care facility, and except as provided in Section 4.

B. Outdoor areas of places of employment except those covered by the provisions of Section 5.

Sec. 7. Posting of Signs and Removal of Ashtrays

A. The prohibition on smoking in any place covered by this ordinance shall be communicated by all employers to all existing employees by the effective date of this Ordinance, and to all prospective employees upon their application for employment.

B. The person having control of such place shall place ‘NO SMOKING’ signs in conspicuous areas at the workplace.

C. All ashtrays shall be removed from inside the building, and smoking receptacles may be provided outside the building.

Sec. 8. Enforcement

A. This Ordinance shall be enforced by the City Administrator or an authorized designee.

B. Notice of the provisions of this Ordinance shall be given to all applicants for a business license in the City of Gaffney.

C. Any citizen who desires to register a complaint under this Ordinance may initiate enforcement with the Chief of Police.

D. The designated enforcement authority shall inspect randomly for compliance with this Ordinance.

E. An owner, manager, operator, or employee of an establishment shall inform persons violating this Ordinance of the appropriate provisions thereof.

Sec. 9. Violations and Penalties

A. A person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited by the provisions of this Ordinance shall be guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to one hundred dollars ($100).

B. A person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a workplace and who fails to comply with the provisions of this Ordinance shall be guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to one hundred dollars ($100). In addition, violation of this Ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates, or otherwise controls a workplace may result in the suspension or revocation of any permit or license issued to the person for the premises on which the violation occurred.

C. Each violation of this Ordinance shall be considered a separate and distinct violation.

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