Smoking Ban ordinance smoldering in Pascagoula

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The smoking ban battle continues to smolder in Pascagoula. The city council passed an ordinance this week to ban smoking in public places. But some business owners have mixed feelings about the council deciding where folks can light up.

Michael Majure owns Petit Bois Cafe in Pascagoula. Majure chose to ban smoking at his restaurant before Pascagoula passed its ordinance. Still, he doesn't believe the city should butt in and force the issue.

"We have enough rules and regulations with the health department. Now we are going to go into civil liberties. I think that is wrong," said Majure.

Under this new ordinance, smoking and tobacco use are prohibited in all public places like restaurants, stores, government buildings and bars. Majure wonders how will the city enforce this rule.

"What about a bar if it is 2 o'clock in the morning and someone wants to smoke a cigarette? What are they going to have smoking police running around writing tickets? I think we got more things that we can look at than smoking a cigarette," said Majure.

While you can't smoke inside restaurants and bars now in Pascagoula, there are some places making provisions for folks to light up outside.

"We are service industry; we can't just exclude a group of people."

Scranton's owner Richard Chenoweth has a special outdoor section for smokers. But the indoor section of the restaurant has been non-smoking for two years. Chenoweth said that's helped him increase business by at least 10 percent.

"The more and more you go to a non-smoking place, the more you notice smoking. Really, it interferes with ambiance and the food to me," said Chenoweth.

City officials aren't surprised by the mixed reaction, but they want folks to know the goal of this smoke free ordinance is to promote a healthier city.

"We all always encourage outdoor recreation, get up, be active and this is another step in that direction," Community Development Director Jen Dearman said.

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