Smoking ban ordinance passes first reading in Pendleton

A smoking ban in the Town of Pendleton is on its way after the town council passed the first vote on an ordinance to regulate smoking.

The smoking ban here in Pendleton has been a year in the making and controversial all along the way.

Burning cigarette

Burning cigarette

Monday night’s vote proved no different.

With a 3-2 vote, Pendleton’s town council passed the first reading of an ordinance to regulate smoking, with smoke-free supporters in attendance.

The council says this ordinance came up after town members brought it to their attention.

“I have a lot of reservations about government interventions into people’s lives,”said Mayor Randy Hayes, who voted for the ordinance, “but I wasn’t elected to express my opinion, I was elected to convey the will of the citizens of the Town of Pendleton.”

The council discussed changes to the initial draft of the ordinance, including higher fines for businesses – $75 for the first violation, $150 for the second, and $500 on the third. Business licenses could be revoked if four tickets are given.

Local restaurants would be most affected, though only three in Pendleton currently allow smoking.

“If you know that smoking and second hand smoking is prevalent there that you have the choice to go in there or not,” said Councilman Frank Crenshaw, who voted “nay” on Monday night. “And I think that should be everyone’s choice, and I think it should be the choice of the owner of such an establishment.”

The ban would prohibit smoking in public places like stores, restaurants and workplaces where more than one person works, but also some outdoor places like amphitheaters, parks, special events and eating areas near sidewalks or parks.

Business owners would be responsible for controlling smoking by asking customers to put out their tobacco products, and by posting no smoking signs and removing ashtrays.

This was just the first vote; a second and final vote at next month’s council meeting will decide if the ordinance takes place.

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