Houston Community News >> Houston Proposed No Smoking Plan

10/4/2006 Houston -- A proposed smoking ban in Houston restaurants and bars has received support from the city’s business community. Houston City Council member Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, M.D., was seeking opinions as part of an effort to develop a proposal to ban smoking in Houston's workplaces, including bars and restaurants, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Proposed revisions in the city's smoking ordinance would prohibit lighting up in all enclosed places, including bars, but would allow smoking in tobacco stores and outdoor patios, according to a draft released late today. In Houston, the change in the ordinance would need only the council's approval. Mayor Bill White already has expressed his support.

Houston's existing ordinance prohibits smoking in restaurants, but allows it in stand-alone bars. Smoking also is allowed in bars that are part of restaurants if the owners take steps to prevent smoke from drifting into dining areas.

The broader ban would make it illegal to smoke in all bars, except those that qualify as "tobacco bars" because more than 20 percent of revenue comes from tobacco sales. Retail tobacco shops and all outdoor patios also would be exempt, according to the Houston Chronicle. Houston's proposal also includes a provision that would require owners to post "no smoking" signs. The existing ordinance requires owners to post signs where smoking is allowed.

(Contributed by Houston Chronicle)