PA Council sets public hearing date for smoking ban

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Port Arthur is a step closer to becoming smoke free after City Council members on Tuesday set April 5 as the date for formal discussion during a public hearing.

District 2 Councilwoman Tiffany Hamilton is leading an effort to ban smoking in public places, including restaurants and bars.

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Hamilton said she requested a public hearing be scheduled because of concerns about the dangers of second-hand smoking.

City Attorney Val Tizeno at City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday said the city currently has an ordinance on its books to prohibit smoking in all city-owned buildings and vehicles.

The ordinance does not address public places that are privately owned.

“We would be going into private businesses, not just City Hall,” Tizeno said

A city can institute regulations on private enterprises if there is a danger to public health, Tizeno said.

In the case of smoking, the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states second-hand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers.

Second-hand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of those are toxic and 70 can cause cancer.

Second-hand smoke has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Tizeno said the city of Beaumont has an ordinance in place with a 100-percent ban on smoking in all public places.

Across the state, 95 Texas cities have ordinances in places that ban smoking in public places, either 100-percent or partially. In addition to Beaumont, Southeast Texas cities on the list include Galveston, Houston, Humble and Pearland.

District 1 Councilman Raymond Scott suggested a study be conducted to determine how many businesses would be affected, and how many businesses already have some sort of smoking ban already in effect.

The April 5 public hearing is strictly for discussion on the subject.


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