Boyle looking into possibility of smoke-free ordinance

Published 10:29 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Boyle County Health Department Director Brent Blevins would like to see the county government make plans for a smoke-free ordinance.

“I think the majority of us would be happy to see that happen,” Boyle Magistrate Jason Cullen told Blevins this week.

Blevins told the Boyle Fiscal Court Danville’s smoke-free ordinance has been in place for a decade with plenty of positive effects.

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“After 10 years, it’s hard to dispute the difference it’s made in Danville when you look at the economy of restaurants,” he said, suggesting areas outside the county seat could see similar benefits for growth with a smoke-free ordinance in place. “We haven’t got that done in the county yet. We tried several years ago and it just didn’t happen — and I’m not so sure it will happen now, but I wanted to put it in your ear and let’s start having some discussion about that.”

Blevins said it would be “decently easy” to base a county-wide smoke-free ordinance off the one already in effect in Danville.

Former Health Department Director Roger Trent campaigned for years to make Danville smoke-free before the city finally did it in August of 2008. He said on the occasion of the 10th anniversary in 2018 that he had tried to get a county-wide ban as well, but “you beat your head against a wall so many times you get tired of doing that.”

Blevins commented at the 10th anniversary last August as well, saying he would continue lobbying the fiscal court for a county-wide smoking ban.

“To me, (Danville’s smoking ban is) fantastic,” Blevins said at the time. “It’s one of the greatest accomplishments of our community.”

The ban prohibits smoking inside publicly accessible spaces such as restaurants and stores, and in workplaces. It also prohibits smoking within 10 feet of building entrances.

Trent said last year that while opponents of smoking bans often claim the bans violate their rights, they forget that other people have the right to breathe clean air.

On Tuesday, Cullen, who is one of four freshman members of the fiscal court, said he often has to remind people outside his business — the Hub Coffee Shop on Main Street — about the 10-foot rule.

Cullen asked Boyle County Attorney Chris Herron to look at Danville’s ordinance “to see if we can pull something for the county and bring that forward.” Herron said he would.

“Let’s circle back here and keep it moving forward,” Cullen said.