This past Monday evening, during a Sedalia City Council work session, members of Clean Air Sedalia, The National Cancer Society and the Pettis County Health Center came together to make a presentation to the council about their views on Sedalia becoming a smoke-free city.
The News-Journal had a chance to speak with City Administrator Gary Edwards about some of the ideas for and against such an ordinance.
Edwards was asked how well-attended the session was and if he felt that things were accomplished during the meeting.
“It was a full house. It was a good meeting. We heard good arguments on both sides of the issue,” Edwards said.
Edwards spoke on some of the issues brought before the council Monday evening.
“One side of the argument that was made was a concern that if it is all inclusive, it could cause bars and private clubs to lose patrons. Another person stood up and said that those places would gain patrons,” Edwards said
He added, “Another argument was that an ordinance like this would dwindle the numbers at private clubs. Another person pointed out that there studies done that prove this not be the case.
“Both sides have good arguments and made good points.”
The Pettis County Health Center Administrator JoAnn Martin spoke about the bar and private club issue during a Wednesday phone interview.
“A comprehensive ban is truly what needs to be enacted, because exposure to even a small amount of second hand smoke can be harmful in people that are sensitive,” Martin said.
She went on to add, “The discussion focused a lot on bars and the concept that people going into bars are expecting the smoke.
“There are many people that go into those places because of employment. They include inspectors, fire fighters, police officers, sales reps, vendors, and mail carriers.
“There are many people that enter into those establishments because of their employment.”
Monday’s meeting was for informational purposes only and no decision was made by the council.
“They want to wait until another time. The next work session is on May 13. The council indicated at this last meeting, that they would like to concentrate on the council members discussing it primarily,”
Edwards spoke on the time line in which the council will try to make a decision on the issue.
“The natural time line would not be the next meeting, because that would not be enough time. We anticipate it would be decided at one of the June meetings, assuming the council wants to move forward,” Edwards said.
Councilman Steve Galliher mentioned that if the ordinance were to pass, he would prefer that it not go into effect for six months, allowing time for establishments to prepare for the change over.