FARMINGTON, MO (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri has the highest smoking rate in the state, but it may not be long before Farmington voters decide to make their city smoke-free.
Mayor Stuart Landrum said the closest city to Farmington with a smoking ban is Arnold. As of now, Kennett is the only other city in the region that has passed a ban.
However, as far as Farmington goes, voters have mixed opinions.
"I am absolutely in agreement," Elizabeth Stevenson said. "I think there should be no smoking in any public areas actually."
It's a decision Farmington voters may have to make come November 2015.
"I would vote that people should be able to smoke," Jessie Holcomb said.
"When we came in the door, we noticed there was smoking allowed because we could smell it when we come in," Dan Reynolds said.
Reynolds and his wife Janet are visitors to Farmington. They come from a city that is smoke-free.
"It's nice to not have to worry about it," Dan Reynolds said.
They think a ban is good for communities.
"I don't think anybody should be forced to breathe in second-hand smoke if they don't want to. Plus, it's a concern of people who have health issues such as asthma," Janet Reynolds said.
Mayor Landrum said the ban might exclude places like private clubs and bars; he said the variation of the ordinance has not yet been decided.
"I'm in my 50s so I smoked a long time," Holcomb said.
Holcomb is a former smoker. She said she doesn't want a ban at all.
"I think people who smoke are treated poorly. I quit smoking for my own reasons, it wasn't for my health or anything of the sort, it's just, I decided to quit and I'd smoked my entire life," Holcomb said.
Two restaurant and bar owners in Farmington agree. They say their customers like the option to smoke or not. Mayor Landrum says city leaders are seeking input from the business community as well as citizens on how to craft the ordinance for the ballot.
Some say some exceptions would be necessary.
"I think it's great for restaurants but when they extend it city-wide it creates some problems," Dan Reynolds said.
Mayor Landrum said according to a survey of Farmington residents, two-thirds support a smoking ban. He said the city will host public hearings before deciding on the specifics of the ordinance.