Boiseans Weigh In on Possibility of Smoke-Free City

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The Boise City Council will meet later today to consider additional smoking restrictions in public places. A 2010 Citizen Survey found that roughly 70 percent of Boise residents favored a smoking ban in all indoor public places. In addition, roughly 53 percent said that the city should ban smoking in all public parks.

Idaho state law already provides for a smoke-free environment in most public buildings, where food is served, and where children might be present. If implemented, smoking restrictions would extend to bars, including their patios on public sidewalks, and within 20 feet of entrances.

While a press release from the city touts health benefits of a smoking ban, some Boise bar owners and patrons are worried about their bottom line.

Lynn and Carol Howell own 10th Street Station, a basement bar nestled beneath the Idanha building. They told Citydesk the current restrictions work the way they are, and as a bar that doesn’t serve food, they worry about lost business if passed.

“I agree that if you have kids, it shouldn't be around kids. I wouldn't smoke around kids,” said Lynn. “We're down to around the only bars that do it. We're not a majority; we're the minority. People have a choice. People over 21 should have a choice.”

Over at the Neurolux, Ryan Nagler working the door Friday evening felt otherwise.

“I’d love it if they (passed the ordinance),” said Nagler. “I would prefer that the city do it rather than forcing establishments to make that decision on their own and risk losing clientele.”

Boise Weekly took an impromptu poll on its Facebook page, with a slight bent toward keeping the restrictions the way they are.

Jen Martinek commented: "Finally! I hate going to bars in Boise...I always feel like I need to take a shower and wash all my clothes at the end of the night."

But Aaron McCulloch felt otherwise: "I'll stop smoking once you quit your SUV. I don't think my American Spirits contribute to our inversion..."

On Friday evening, Gemma Morawski, a loyal Mulligan’s patron, told BW she recently quit smoking, yet thinks a ban on smoking isn’t fair.

“I just don't agree with that…It's not the best solution,” said Morawski. “People are obese and they don’t put a ban on unhealthy foods. I think it's discriminatory.”

The city is also considering a second ordinance that would make all or part of Boise's parks smoke-free, including the Greenbelt.

The City Council will hold two work sessions without public comment at noon today and again at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11. They will also provide for public input. The first meeting will provide a presentation and offer input from residents and bar owners, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 5. The second is slated for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18.