Put Your Cigarette Butts Away

by Jessica Cervantez

The city council voted to adopt the ordinance that would prohibit smoking in public places. This will go into affect, sixty days after publication. About 80-people were at the meeting, and many of them offered their opinions.

Adam Key, with the Student Government Association at Stephen F. Austin State University, said, "A gross abuse of power by the city council.  They really are not considering the rights of every person.  This is something that's been pushed by a radical political agenda."

Zachary Hill, a SFA student, gave the commission a petition with about 220 signatures, just asking for the commission to extend the decision, because he says a lot of residents didn't know about the vote.

Hill said, "I truly think they had the decision before this council met today.  And, that is really disconcerting to a citizen that tried to make some change in society and felt that my community failed me."

Members of the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition were thankful their hard work has paid off.

Kinnie Parker, with Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital, said, "I'm very pleased that our city commissioners have taken the responsibility to protect the health of the public.  It's a very difficult decision they had to make, and I think it was very hard to make but I think they did the right thing."

Zeke Martinez, who is a paramedic, said, "Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of it being a health decision for Nacogdoches and Nacogdoches County.  They saw it that way and that's how the vote came out so we do appreciate it."

The vote was unanimous.

City Commissioner Don Partin said, "All policy is subject to review. I don't think the City of Nacogdoches is one where we can't bring something back and review it in six months."

And although everyone voted in favor of the ordinance, Commissioner Billie Huddleston spoke out about his concerns with it.

Huddleston said, "Businesses here in Nacogdoches should've been allowed to put a separate facility away from their business to put an area for their smoking customers."

The city council did agree that the ordinance was not set in stone, if there are changes that need to be made, they will go back and look at them.