Lufkin may soon be a smoke-free zone

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin may soon be a smoke-free zone. At Tuesday night's meeting, the Lufkin City Council will be discussing a proposed smoke-free ordinance that would ban smoking in any public places within the city limits.

The meeting will be held in the council chambers at Lufkin City Hall at 5 p.m.

An ordinance is already in place that bans smoking at city parks and restricts the practice to restaurants with designated public areas. The new ban would mean there would be no smoking at city or county facilities, hospitals, stores, or restaurants.

Keith Wright, Lufkin's deputy city manager, said city officials don't know the exact extent of the smoking ban at this point. For instance, city officials don't know whether the ban will extend to restricting people from smoking outside of public places as well.

Nacogdoches implemented a similar city-wide smoking ban on July 1, 2008. City council members in Nacogdoches passed an ordinance that banned smoking in any public building within the city limits, including offices, restaurants, and even bars. Nacogdoches residents are allowed to smoke outside of public buildings.

Deputy City Manager Keith Wright says the council has had several requests for an amended smoking ordinance.

"The request has been for the city to pass a smoke-free ordinance which would prevent or not allow smoking in any public places," Wright said.

There are currently 33 Texas cities, including Nacogdoches, Dallas and Houston that don't allow public smoking.

"If they come back and say no we don't want to move forward that'll be it for now," Wright said. "If they want to develop an ordinance then the staff will develop an ordinance."

Dr. Sid Roberts, medical director at the Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital in Lufkin, spearheaded the smoke-free Lufkin movement.

"I think a smoke-free Lufkin is good for Lufkin to be honest," Roberts said. "I'm interested in helping to make Lufkin a better place to live, to visit and to retire."

Roberts said 19 years ago the city passed a watered down smoking ordinance and it has done nothing to decrease the smoking rates or improve health.

"If we can model behavior for our kids and keep them from smoking our overall health is going to be greatly improved."

Terry Gardner co-manages Mom's Diner on Frank Street, which is one of the few smoking establishments in the city.

"I think it's probably a good thing for people's health," Gardner said. "Mom has always tried to give customers the option."

Gardner says she doesn't think a smoking ban in restaurants will negatively impact business.

"I think a lot of people enjoy coming here because they can smoke a cigarette," Gardner said. "There are people who don't come because people are smoking cigarettes here."

Roberts says for every dollar spent on tobacco products, there are about $3 or more that's spent on health care costs related to smoking.

In addition, the City Council will also:

  • Consider a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Lufkin, Texas, directing the Planning and Zoning Staff to proceed with annexation of property owned by Jimmy Carnes on approximately 2.09 acres of land located at the northeast intersection of Oakwood Drive and Tower Lane and being described as Fuller Springs Farm Acres, Block 1, Lot 85.2, 86.4 and also known as 609 Tower Lane and to develop a service plan for the area.
  • Conduct a Public Hearing and consider a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Lufkin,
  • Texas, granting a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to "Genesis Cab" for the
  • operation of a taxicab service within the city limits of the City of Lufkin, Texas.
  • Consider award of contract to KSA Engineers, Inc. for engineering and survey services in the
  • amount of ninety-seven thousand six hundred dollars ($97,600) for the North Brentwood Drive
  • Extension Project.
  • Consider award of contract to Everett Griffith, Jr. and Associates for engineering and survey services in the amount of sixty-seven thousand five hundred dollars ($67,500) for the reconstruction of Joyce Lane.
  • Consider award of contract to Goodwin-Lasiter, Inc. for architectural services for the design of Fire Station No. 5.
  • Consider award of bid to Timberline Constructors in the amount of five hundred eighty-five
  • thousand three dollars and fourteen cents ($585,003.14) for the Pinewood Park street improvement project in conjunction with Ike Round 2.1 grant funding.
  • Hear City Manager's Report

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