Coalition Fights for Smokers
The coalition's 15 members said Columbia's proposed smoking ban is wrong.
"We're just trying to build awareness and knowlege about our position that there are very good reasons not to implement a smoking ban," explained Rennier.
The coalition said businesses should decide whether to ban smoking because a ban would hurt them economically and the marketplace allows for enough smoke-free establishments. The coalition also said the risks of second-hand smoke are too small to require government regulation. Other groups disagree.
"The risk is there, people are getting sick," countered Dean Andersen of Safe, Smoke-Free Air for Everyone. "We have talked with people in our community who have gotten sick and had to quit their jobs because of exposure to second-hand smoke. We believe, since it's a health issue, everybody's health should be protected."
Andersen's group said Columbia needs the ban to ensure all businesses are smoke-free. Both groups urge citizens to do their own research and decide for themselves if the city needs a smoking ban. The Columbia City Council will vote on the proposal Oct. 9 at a public hearing.