An indoor smoking ban continues to move forward in Garden City, Idaho, but some exemptions in the proposal have caused it to lose support from several key backers and could expose it to legal challenges.
The proposal got its second reading at Monday’s council meeting, but after getting unanimous support at its first reading in June, it now faced opposition as Councilman William Mitchell tried to get the item taken off the meeting’s agenda. He was unsuccessful in finding a second to his motion, so the reading happened and passed by a vote of three to one.
Also voicing his opposition was Mayor John Evans, who thought that hookah bars in the city would be adversely affected by the ban since a significant part of their clientele is between 18 and 21-years-old. There also appears to be inconsistency in the ordinance, as it allows “exclusive retail tobacconists,” such as premium cigar stores, to allow smoking in their stores for patrons over 18 years of age, while denying the same privilege for hookah bars, or what the ordinance describes as “tobacco entertainment facilities.”
An exemption for bars and bingo halls has also cost the ordinance the support of Smokefree Idaho, according to the Idaho Statesman.
There are no further public hearings scheduled for the ordinance, though residents can still submit comments via mail or e-mail.
The ordinance must go through one more reading and vote before it can be adopted, which is currently scheduled for July 28. The ordinance can be amended prior to that scheduled reading or taken off the agenda and rescheduled for a later reading and vote.
Garden City is located within Boise in Ada County, but maintains its own independent government. It has a population of just over 11,000 residents.