Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill to discuss possible smoking ban

Will the town of Fort Mill become a smoke-free zone?

It's a move town leaders are considering.

"We have opened the door on that discussion," Mayor Danny Funderburk said. "We're going to do what's best for the town."

Funderburk wants the issue included on the agenda for the town council's next morning meeting slated for Monday, April 27, he said.

Leaders in Rock Hill and York County adopted ordinances that do away with lighting up in public places, including restaurants. Now, the question is, will Fort Mill follow their lead?

"We're considering it just like York County and Rock Hill," Town Manager David Hudspeth said this week. However, "I don't have a feel from council it they are going to approve, reject or modify it," he said.

Town leaders have already done some legwork on the issue, according to Funderburk.

"We've done our own informal poll of all the town's restaurants," he said. "We already know that all the restaurants in the incorporated town limits are already voluntarily doing it."

For now, smoking in Fort Mill's municipal buildings and schools is taboo, he said.

But there could be some hiccups, Funderburk said.

"What if someone wanted to open up a cigar bar and they wanted to have an area with a lounge or smoking area, where people could sample their products?" he asked. "With the ordinance the way it was passed in Rock Hill, they wouldn't be able to do that."

And that could be bad news, Hudspeth said.

"If you have a business that catered to smokers, certainly the ordinance could impact that business," he said.

Still, a law making the Town of Fort Mill a smoke free-zone has its advantages, Hudspeth contends.

"One of the positives of adopting the ordinance is the health benefit and personal comfort of non-smokers, their ability to have dinner and not breath smoke from someone else's table," he said.

Fort Mill Councilman Larry Huntley has a problem with folks lighting up in public places, he said.

"My wife and late daughter both were allergic to second hand cigarette smoke," Huntley said. "They've been in hospitals because of it."

And he doesn't have a problem with the ordinance, he said.

"I'm leaning toward it," he said. "The law protects those who can not protect themselves."

Councilman Tom Adams also failed to find fault with the ordinance.

"I'm in favor of a no smoking ordinance," Adams said. "I think we need to do something."

Yet, Adams has reservations.

I don't know that we need the exact ordinance that the county and Rock Hill enacted because I think there's some problems with the ordinances," he said. "I don't think we need to force businesses to put up signs and have the zone outside their door."