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Posted: 5:12 p.m. Monday, June 11, 2012
By Greg Suskin
LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. —
Monday night, Lancaster County leaders planned to roll out a proposed new ban on smoking.
Patterned after similar laws in Rock Hill, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, the ordinance would outlaw smoking almost everywhere indoors.
"We're not asking people to quit smoking. We're asking people not to smoke in places where there are families and people who don't smoke," said Lancaster County Council member Larry Honeycutt.
Honeycutt helped create the proposal as part of the county's Health and Wellness Commission.
"We've been working on this two years, and I think it's an ordinance people can live with where they don't feel their rights will be absolutely violated," he said.
Dianna Doster doesn't feel that way at all. She smoked for 25 years, quit two years ago, but said smokers are losing all their rights.
"If you're taking away smoking from people, you're taking away their rights for everything. To me, it's wrong," she said.
Linda Clifton is also a smoker, and feels the same.
"I just think they ought to not take everybody's rights," she said.
However, her son, Mitchell, who's smoked since he was 12 years old, said a ban on smoking could help him finally quit the habit.
"If they're gonna ban smoking, they should just take it all out of the stores and not sell it anywhere in South Carolina," he said.
The ban would only allow smoking in bars, private clubs or tobacco shops. Restaurants would no longer be able to allow smoking or have smoking sections.
When asked, several county leaders could not name more than one or two places that still allowed smoking inside anyway. Most have banned it on their own.
However, Honeycutt said the proposed law is still needed.
"We do still have restaurants that allow smoking," he said.
Honeycutt said several restaurants in the county that have already banned smoking have seen their business increase, and customers return.
Glenn McCain said he and his wife would be more likely to eat out at a place where smoking was not allowed.
"It makes a big difference. My wife has never smoked either and the smell of it bothers her," McCain said.
The Lancaster County Council will discuss the issue Monday night. A first vote is not expected until June 25.
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