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Springfield, MO

Voters to settle smoking ban repeal debate

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The city of Springfield should know this evening whether the current city smoking ban with its recent amendments will remain in place or if the ban will be repealed to the ordinance on the books in 2003.

Springfield citizens can vote until 7 p.m. The outcome will end a months-long debate between clean-air activists and small-business owners whose patrons light up.

A “yes” vote today supports a repeal of the current ordinance – the Smokefree Act of 2011, and its amended version as of May 7, 2012 – and reverts to the 2003 law that allowed smoking in bars, private clubs, tobacco shops, pool halls and bowling alleys, and restaurants with fewer than 50 seats or with alcohol sales of more than $200,000, or 50 percent of gross receipts, and with separately ventilated enclosed smoking rooms.

A “no” vote keeps the current ban and its May 7 amendments, which exempted existing Springfield tobacco shops, cigar bars, private clubs, electronic cigarettes, theatrical performances and bingo parlors under certain circumstances.

With confusion surrounding the vote, city officials created an informational election guide at SpringfieldMo.gov/election.

Several small-business owners have weighed in at City Council meetings saying sales at their operations have declined since the current ban was enacted on June 11, 2011, and a few, including a Schultz & Dooley’s, have closed.

Proponents, led by One Air Alliance, have said they are acting on behalf of employees of smoking establishments and to protect the health of the city’s citizens at large.

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