POSTED: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 8:57am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 7:40am
BROWNSVILLE — They’re hoping to tighten up on the smoking ban ordinance here in Brownsville.
“We had a lot of feedback from the public saying the current ordinance is not working, and this was a direct action because of the people’s feedback that the current ordinance was not effective,” says Brownsville’s City Health Director, Art Rodriguez.
Under the current ordinance, several exemptions allow businesses to allow patrons and employees to smoke; exemptions that have been too tough for city code enforcement officers and the law to actually enforce.
So now they’re hoping to make some changes.
“No smoking, period,” says Rodriguez.
City officials say it’s all tied into the betterment of the city, specifically the health of the people who live here.
“Well the latest US General Surgeons report in 2006 again reiterated the importance of second hand smoke elimination, especially in the workplace and public spaces that are enclosed,“ says Rodriguez.
We caught up with a few people out on the streets who seem to be in support of the stricter law.
“It’s not good. Smoking in a restraint and public places is bad,” says a Brownsville resident.
“it’s not good, it damages your lungs and the environment,” says a Matamoros resident the frequents Brownsville.
“it’s good for your health, for a clean city, no more smoke,” says a man in favor of the stricter smoking ban.
Now those who want to light up a cigarette still have the right to do so, but will need to stay in designated areas.
If a person chooses to smoke they have to be at least twenty feet away from the businesses doors.
If the “no smoking” amendment passes it will take effect 60 days from approval.
City officials hope to influence the rest of the county and other valley cities to follows suit in hopes of reducing second hand smoke related illnesses.
City council votes on the issue at the July 3rd city council meeting. Two readings and passages are required before this ordinance can be amended.