Mayor says voters should decide smoking ban

By Christy Millweard

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Members of the group behind a push to ban smoking in Cape Girardeau bars, restaurants and other public places stated their case at Monday night's city council meeting.

Stating "health reasons" as their main intention, members spent just a few minutes pleading their case to the city council.  Council members made no decision Monday on how to approach the proposal, but must do so in the coming weeks.

The council's options are to pass the smoking ordinance as-is, or have voters decide on the April ballot.  Mayor Harry Rediger said he doesn't speak for all council members, but he thinks the voters should be the ones to decide.

"I really don't think it's a council decision issue I think it would be best decided on a vote of the people, and I really anticipate that's where that's going to go," Rediger said.

"Our goal is to protect residents, patrons, and workers from exposure to secondhand smoke inside public places, including bars, restaurants and casinos," said Jeremy Barnes, spokesman for Breathe Easy Cape Girardeau.  "The ordinance we have proposed is strong, simple, fair and the most effective way to improve the health of our community. It places all work places including bars, restaurants, and casinos on a fair and level playing field. This is the norm, smokers stepping outside for the health of everyone."

Jill Haynes, spokeswoman for Isle of Capri, said the company is not concerned about the affect a smoking ban would have on Cape's proposed casino.  Haynes said the company owns casinos in both Florida and Colorado that are smoke-free.

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