Group trying to ban smoking in Horry County

Ninety-nine percent of people who responded to a survey sent out by the group Smoke Free Horry said they strongly support or somewhat support that everyone deserves to breathe smoke free air.

In a news conference Tuesday, the organization joined with the citizens group, Healthy Horry, to try to influence lawmakers to pass ordinances that would ban smoking in all business establishments.

"We want people to remember that the restaurant you go to is a business and the workers deserve smoke free air," says Smoke Free Horry spokesperson George DuRant. "We've seen the results of our research, and being in an indoor smoking environment has 22 times more pollutants than smoke-free locations."

Healthy Horry joined Smoke Free Horry in order to bring a louder voice to those for a ban on smoking.

"It's time we take a stand and begin to demand that our leadership makes changes to prohibit smoking in public places," says Healthy Horry spokesman Bill Crowther.

Healthy Horry is the second group to endorse Smoke Free Horry. Two months ago, after 68 percent of its members who responded to a survey said they were for a smoking ban for businesses, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce backed Smoke Free Horry's cause.

But even with these groups uniting, Horry County Council Chair Tom Rice says a smoking ban is not even on the council's radar.

"As of now, we have yet to hear anything from Smoke Free Horry," says Rice. "We don't plan to look at the issue anytime soon."

The Town of Surfside Beach is the only municipality in the county that passed such a smoking ban, but passing a ban county-wide is not something Rice is in favor of.

"There's twelve other people here that could vote against me, but personally I'm not in favor of it."

What do you think about a smoking ban in all of Horry County?