Local group petitions to make Conway smoke-free

The Wellness Council for South Carolina and Breathe Clean Conway have started a petition to make the City of Conway smoke-free.

Members of the Wellness Council, have been trying to get as much community support as possible for the initiative.

"What we're trying to do is make the indoor spaces smoke-free. Not only for the patrons, but for those who are employed in restaurants and bars," said Kristi Falk, a founding member of The Health and Wellness Council.

Currently, Conway has no laws stopping people from smoking in indoor, public spaces.

Falk says the smoke is not only a health risk for those who smoke, but for those who are subjected to the second-hand smoke.

"Second-hand smoke affects people the same way as if you had a cigarette yourself," said The Health and Wellness Council of South Carolina Board President Daniel Falk.

Daniel also said it will be a challenge to convince people and city council members to support their initiative, because some believe it infringes on people's rights.

In April of 2012, Smoke Free Horry started a similar initiative, but Conway city council members tabled it since there was a lack of support for it, according to Conway City Administrator Bill Graham.

There are 58 communities in South Carolina that are smoke free, including Surfside Beach, North Myrtle Beach, as well as Coastal Carolina University in Conway which recently became a tobacco-free campus.

It has not yet been decided when The Health and Wellness Council and Breathe Clean Conway will take their petition to city council members, according to Daniel and Kristi Falk.

City council members haven't seen the petition yet, but Mayor Alys Lawson said she's in favor of making the City of Conway smoke-free. Lawson also said some other council members are interested.

To view or sign the petition to make the City of Conway smoke-free, click here.