Poll shows majority of Florence residents support a smoke-free ordinance

Smoke Free Florence conducted a scientific poll that finds 63% of city residents support a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance that would ban smoking in public places in the city limits of Florence.

Florence city council says it has to be done to protect children, workers and citizens from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The council has drafted an ordinance, but has not introduced it.

The proposed ordinance says, that smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed buildings and spaces which are open to the public and have employees. It does not apply to private homes unless used as a licensed day care, adult day care, or healthcare facility. The ordinance does allow smoking at the owner/managers discretion on open decks, balconies and patios of restaurants.

Council members Glynn Willis and Mayor Protem Buddy Brand are co-sponsors of the ordinance and recently have submitted some proposed two amendments to the ordinance.

The amendments would allow business owners the option to designate an employee smoking area away from the general public and out of employee work areas.

Employees would also be able to smoke in warehouses with drive-in entrance doors and outside ventilation systems, if the public doesn't use that area.

The Smoke Free Florence Coalition says the proposed changes weaken the proposed ordinance and they support a more comprehensive ordinance as it was originally written.

Councilman Willis says it's not his intentions to weaken it but believes the changes balance property owners rights and public health concerns.

Friday morning, council is to possibly discuss the changes and postponing any action on the ordinance at their meeting next week.

Officials say Councilman Ed Robinson will be out of town for next week's meeting and would like for them to postpone discussion on the proposed ordinance until their April meeting.

We will let you know if council delays discussion on the ordinance.