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Bedford Council Rejects Smoke-Free Effort

Last updated on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

(BEDFORD) - The Bedford City Council Tuesday night defeated a proposal for a tobacco-free city.

The ordinance failed 4-3. Council President Byron Buker, Mark Scherschel, Adele Bowden-Purlee and Judy Carlisle voted against it. Pat Robbins, Michele Murphy and Julie Hewetson voted in favor.

State law already bans smoking in most public places except bars, tobacco stores and private clubs and casinos.

In August, a public meeting was held to hear opinions on making Bedford smoke free. Most of the citizens that attended the meeting were for the proposal, saying smoking was a health hazard to all.

Others felt the law was unfair allowing smoking in some establishment but not others.

The council voted Tuesday night to reject an ordinance to restrict smoking in all city-owned facilities and vehicles. It also would prohibit smoking "within a place of employment."

According to the ordinance the ban would not have applied to retail tobacco stores and tobacco bars, private clubs (except during events open to the public) and private residences (except when used as a day care center, adult day care center or health care facility).

The ordinance did not address outside venues or e-cigarettes.

Some council members were hesitant to pass an ordinance that would superseded state code saying the city would have high legal fees if the ordinance was challenged in court.

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