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Bismarck Tribune Editorial: Thanks for the Smoking Ban


Posted on 9/21/2010

Mayor Warford and the Bismarck City Commission deserve our thanks. They recently enacted an ordinance making Bismarck bars smoke free.

Even with two brand-new members, the commission tackled a hard issue in a respectful, responsible way and did the right thing.

The North Dakota cities of Fargo, West Fargo, Grand Forks, and Napoleon had already made their bars smoke free. Even so, the Bismarck City Commission was brave to propose and support this ordinance.

Many Bismarck bars allowed smoking, and bar owners were understandably worried that the ordinance would hurt their business.

Over the decades, doctors and researchers have proven that indoor secondhand smoke is just as deadly as smoking. As Bismarck’s board of health, the city commission had the responsibility to protect bar employees and patrons from secondhand smoke.

They stepped up to that responsibility by proposing the ordinance and facilitating a calm, cordial public hearing where both sides had an equal chance to state their case.

The commission voted 4-1 in favor of the ordinance and attached a Nov. 1 starting date.

Tax data from other cities and states show that a citywide smoke-free ordinance usually has little effect on a bar’s business and sometimes even helps.

A whole new group of people may now discover Bismarck’s new smoke free establishments.

Well done, and thank you, Bismarck City Commission.

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