JONESBORO The Jonesboro City Council appeared ready to enact some form of a ban on smoking on city property this week, but what that prohibition will look like remains to be seen.
At the very least, council members indicated they were in agreement that a smoking ban should be put in place at the city’s parks. What remains unclear is whether they will go as far as banning smoking at City Hall, public works facilities and the Jonesboro Police Department headquarters as well.
Mayor Joy Day is pushing for a total ban on all properties, but council members appear to be stuck on the issue of how far is too far.
“I think it’ll be great in the parks,” said Councilman Wallace Norrington. “I think we ought to just start in the parks and then we can always amend our ordinances later on to include all city properties.”
The council will make its decision on which way to go when it meets Monday for its monthly business meeting, at 7 p.m. at the police headquarters, 170 South Main St.
The key issue the council will have to deal with is whether it would infringe on residents’ personal liberties by banning smoking on city-owned properties.
“I’m all against smoking because of the dangers of second-hand smoke but it really concerns me about our personal freedoms,” said Councilman Randy Segner. “My personal opinion is as long as what you’re doing is not affecting the health of someone else, you should have the right to do it as long as its legal — and smoking cigarettes is legal.”
Day stressed that she was not opposed to people being allowed to smoke cigarettes, despite her request to prohibit on properties that belong to the city government. She said a smoking ban is, in a way, similar to limits governments have placed on automobile uses.
“It’s OK for me to drive my car, but I can’t do it on the sidewalk and I can’t do it at 120 miles per hour — but I can drive it within the parameters of the law,” said Day.