No Smoking Ban Officially Begins - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

7/1/08 - Nacogdoches

No Smoking Ban Officially Begins

by Donna McCollum

From her office window, Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition leader Kinnie Parker observes the no smoking area at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. It's been moved 20 feet from the building. She views it as a sense of accomplishment.    " Yes, it is. We definitely think the smoking ordinance has helped move the smoking areas away from the building and that has helped reduce the smoke exposure, " said Parker. She's been preaching the dangers of second hand smoke for months.

Smoke breaks came to an abrupt halt when they saw a camera.   Others are taking the enforcement and attention in stride. Gene Lacy said, " I think it will be okay. You have to walk out here a little bit. It will be alright, I guess."  Smokers gather in a gazebo or under trees. They're accustomed to standing right outside the door.

At Joey Ross Towing five out of six employees who work there are smokers. Today the 'No Smoking' sign is prominently displayed. The smell of smoke still lingers in the front office where everyone would smoke. Billy Joe Pierce and his Camels are now banished to the back lot. Pierce said,  " Gonna take some getting used to. I've already broken the rule once by mistake."

Health advocates are wanting the new law to foster an environment of prevention, particularly for the younger generation. Nacogdoches Safe & Drug Free spokesman, Melissa Mallory said of the ordinance,  " It encourages young people to remain smoke free because they can go to public places without seeing someone light up."

For the first time in twelve years Butcher Boys designated smoking area no longer exists. Customer, Robin Griffith said,  " I think it's crazy myself. I'm a smoker and I think the restaurant owner should be able to do what they want to do. It's their business. "

But times are a changing. A statewide no smoking law is expected to pass during the next legislative session.

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