(Burlington, Ky.) - Boone County is backing out of discussions to join a region-wide smoking ban in northern Kentucky.
Judge-Executive Gary Moore said in a statement released Friday morning that as a draft ordinance is being crafted, there are not the votes among the county fiscal court members to pass a ban.
“In the process of working on draft ordinances, it is clear there is no support among members of the Fiscal Court to consider this issue in Boone County no matter how it reads. At this time, Boone County is removing itself from the process of a regional smoking free ordinance,” said Moore.
Other fiscal court members cited businesses’ rights to decide whether to allow smoking.
“I do not favor a ban on smoking. It is up to the business owner as to how they want to run their business on this issue,” said County Commission Cathy Flaig. “We need to stay out of the lives of private citizens. Government has no right to meddle with this. This is a private property rights issue.”
Fellow commissioner Terri Moore echoed those sentiments.
“I’m not comfortable with passing a smoking ban at this time. I have personally witnessed business in Boone County go smoke-free and believe they have experienced an increase in patronage as a result. Because businesses are going smoke-free voluntarily, I will not support a smoking ban,” said Terri Moore.
Although saying he understands the dangers of second-hand smoke, commissioner Charlie Kenner voiced concerns that bans haven’t been properly enforced in other parts of Kentucky.
“I don’t see a need for it in Boone County, especially since the Health Department reports over 70 percent of restaurants are already non-smoking,” Kenner said.
Boone County stepping away from enacting an ordinance is a blow to proponents of a region-wide smoking ban. The group Northern Kentucky ACTION had hoped to have Kenton, Campbell, and Boone counties all enact the ordinance.
Boone County Government - http://www.boonecountyky.org
Northern Kentucky ACTION - http://www.nkyaction.org/mx/hm.asp?id=home