by Brady Moore
Tuesday night, Eagle Mayor Phil Bandy cast the deciding vote to prohibit smoking at all indoor public places within city limits.
The ordinance will go through two more public readings before residents will have to relinquish their habits in public places. Shauneen Grange of Smokefree Idaho, the group that brought the ordinance to Eagle, commended the city in a statement, saying, “Secondhand smoke is a known public health hazard and no one should have to choose between a job and good health."
The council members were split with Norm Semanko and Jeanne Jackson-Heim voting against and Michael Huffaker and Al Shoushtarian voting for approval. Bandy cast the deciding vote.
Semanko first moved to pass the notion of a public smoking ban on to the state Legislature for statewide consideration, rather than voting for it at the city level, but his motion failed. Huffaker then suggested passing the Eagle ordinance and also asking the Legislature to consider a statewide ban, as Semanko had suggested.
Smokers not following the ordinance will receive a warning for the first offense and a $25 fine, second and third violations face a $50 fine.
Eagle is the first city in Idaho to expand statewide smoking limitations to bars, small businesses and all public places. Smokefree Idaho has also approached Boise, Garden City and Meridian.
In other tobacco news, Idaho's entire congressional delegation has voted in favor of FDA regulation of tobacco products in the form of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Sen. Jim Risch issued the following statement: “Tobacco products and their effects are a scourge to our nation. They take a tremendous toll on our health and make up a significant portion of our soaring health costs. This bill continues the general tightening of restrictions on the industry to limit the spread of these dangerous and addictive products.”