2017-08-11 / Front Page

Blacksburg joins Gaffney in passing first reading on ‘no smoking’ ordinance

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer

Blacksburg took its first step Tuesday toward banning tobacco use in public places.

Town council unanimously approved first reading of an ordinance which makes it unlawful to use any tobacco products inside restaurants, businesses or workplaces. Electronic cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff and any vaporizers would not be allowed within 25 feet of entrances and exits of businesses, restaurants or workplaces.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to preserve public health and prevent our town residents from being exposed to direct or second hand smoke,” Blacksburg Mayor David Hogue said.

Under the ordinance, town residents would not be allowed to smoke at sporting events, festivals, or events such as the Iron City Festival. All Cherokee County schools are already tobacco-free campuses.

Blacksburg would issue a $25 fine for each violation of the ordinance. The smoking ban requires two readings before it goes into effect.

There was swift reaction to the town’s proposed smoking ban shortly after a social media post made by The Gaffney Ledger to publicize council’s decision.

“Beware of the slippery slope,” Steve Parker wrote in a Facebook post. “I hate smoking, but if government gets used to banning things, something you like may be next. New York has banned large sized sodas; one day you may walk up and all your freedoms are gone.”

While several residents supported Blacksburg’s proposed tobacco ban, other residents expressed concern on Facebook about whether the smoking ordinance could lead to further restrictions on local residents.

“With fed, state, county and cities trying to regulate businesses with every kind of tax and laws they can come up with, it’s no wonder that most small businesses never survive the first year,” Bill Peterson wrote.

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