Thursday, September 5, 2013

Should San Marcos Ban Smoking?

The city attorney’s office has released a draft of a proposed ordinance that would ban cigarette smoking in nearly all public places, including bars and restaurants, as well as city-owned parks and other facilities.
The San Marcos City Council will hold a 7 p.m. public hearing on the proposed legislation at its regular meeting tonight at San Marcos City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins St.
Drafted by City Attorney Michael Cosentino at the direction of the city council members, the ordinance defines “public places” to include ”banks, bars, bingo facilities, comedy clubs, indoor music venues, convention facilities, educational facilities, health care facilities, laundromats, public transportation facilities, reception areas, restaurants, retail food production and marketing establishments, retail service establishments, retail stores, shopping malls, sports arenas, theaters, and waiting rooms” whether or not they are privately owned.
The smoking prohibition also includes outdoor areas within 15 feet from the entrance or openable window of a place where smoking is banned.
It does not apply to outdoor seating and other open areas of public places as long as signs are posted “warning patrons of the negative health effects associated with secondhand smoke.” Retail tobacco shops and designated smoking rooms in hotels and nursing homes are also exempt from the ban.

1. City Council to Hold Public Hearing on Smoking Ban in San Marcos. Posted by The Mercury Staff
2. Category of Problem: Smoking in Public
3. Level of Problem: Local
4. The Article Concerns: a potential policy that is being considered to ban smoking in the city of San Marcos in public areas including bars and restaurants which effects families and the community.
5. Why this is important to individuals/families OR How does this affect individuals/families?
- This issue has been a main topic on the minds of many locals. This is important to individual families because it will better the health of many and allow for those who don't smoke to be smoke free in a public environment.
6. My Input
- I think this is a policy that could potentially increase the health of many people around the community. With this smoking prohibition it could increase the health of not only those who smoke, due to the fact that they won't be able to smoke whenever they want, but also those who don't smoke no longer getting second hand smoking. I agree with this policy because it does not outlaw smoking all together. In no way is this policy telling who to smoke and who not to smoke. I believe it is trying to better the health and community and be more respectful to those who don't smoke or who have health issues. With all of this said, I think it will be very hard to regulate something like this in such a large area. For example, Texas State University is a smoke free campus however walking throughout campus I see students and faculty smoking all the time.  The city is going to have to take several measures to make sure this policy is carried out. The council met on September 3, 2013 to talk about the potential outcome and come to a resolution. 


  1. I definitely agree with you. The policy to ban smoking in pubic areas should increase healthier choices for people within the community. Smoking is detrimental to our health and those who do not smoke should not be exposed to it due to being in a public area. I feel it is very disrespectful to even be smoking around restaurants with families and children around. The city council should carry out the policy to protect the community from second hand smoke.

  2. I totally agree with you on public place like restaurants and other family gatherings, but bars I don't agree with because they have an age limit to be able to get in. Being a smoker is a choice, no one forced you to do it and its not illegal, so therefore if its not illegal, laws shouldn't dictate where and when you're able to light one up. I do agree with not smoking around infants, toddlers, and kids because they cant defend themselves with walking away or picking a different place to go eat and hang out. If certain people do not like smokers then they should choose somewhere that is smoke free. There are so many cities that don't allow smoking in public places and San Marcos is one of the last towns in Texas to have change its law on that. When I have friends visit from out of town, they are amazed that they can smoke in such establishments like the bars on the square and really like that they don't have to be secluded from everyone to just smoke a cigarette. Most bars on the square do not have patios to take your drink and smoke a cigarette therefore where would the smokers be able to smoke since you have to be 15 ft from any establishment to smoke if the law passes. Do they stand in the street? There's always pros and cons about every situation, but before you alienate the smokers everything possible in both cases should be thought about not just the none smokers caring about the health of others.

  3. Personally, I think it should be considered whether there is enough evidence to support the claim that second-hand smoke is damaging to health. Without substantial evidence backing up this claim, this law really has no basis other than to inhibit the "annoyance" of nearby smokers. It should be considered that those who smoke regularly are addicted on mental and physical levels; not only is it a commodity that can be afforded by some as choice but it becomes an "insulin," if you will, to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. Though smoking has a bad reputation in many social circles it also becomes a routine so entrenched in smokers' ways that it becomes for them part of their own way- more than something as paper-thin as a fashion statement that can be tossed away without serious and very real physical repercussions. That being said, to ignore the rights and literally medical needs of what are now legally considered law-abiding citizens, a large amount of substantial evidence should be gathered first on the effects of second-hand smoke. I'm not even necessarily saying that I disagree with the smoking ban, I just think more research should be amassed to support claims that second-hand smoke is a health or environmental hazard. I also think individuals should reflect on their biases against smokers and determine why those biases exist, especially if their (the smoker's) behavior is not effecting their personal health.