A 4-1 vote from Gadsden’s City Council outnumbered the public opposition against a smoking ban, which is now set to go into effect in late January 2015.
The new law will prohibit smoking in all business and other public spaces, as well as within 20-feet from the entrances of the affected businesses. Cigar shops and bars received an exemption so long as 10 percent or more of quarterly revenue comes from alcohol, 50 percent comes from cigar related purchases and the business have a walk-in humidor. Tobacco retailers without the walk-in humidor, businesses that were once exempted, will now be subject to the ban.
In addition, smoking will be allowed on outdoor patios, but no food or beverages will be allowed to be sold in these areas in an effort to limit the interaction between employees and smokers. This is one of three changes, the final being extending the smoke-free zone around entrances from seven to 20-feet.
Gadsden was expected to vote on a smoking ban in mid-May, but at the meeting where the measure was supposed to be taken up, citizens opposing the new law outnumbered those in favor of it.
The city is located in the northeastern part of the state, roughly 50 miles northeast of Birmingham. It has a population over 35,000 and is the county seat of Etowah County.