Goose Creek passes 1st reading of smoking ban

By Nikki

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) The city of Goose Creek appears to be inching closer to a permanent ban on smoking.

On Tuesday, in a 4-to-3 vote, city council voted in favor of an ordinance that would do just that.

In 2009, city council shot down a similar measure. With first reading of the ordinance on the agenda, many people who call Goose Creek home packed City Hall, eager to give their two cents on the issue.

"This is about a right of workers to be able to be in a non-smoking environment. Second hand smoke is a deadly killer," said one lady who works as a nurse at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Another lady spoke, concerned for her children and others.

"It's very important to protect the health of our children. This is one step in that direction," she said.

This latest ordinance would ban smoking in a variety of places, including the work place, health care facilities, schools, shopping malls, restaurants and bars.

"I don't think that anybody has the right to tell a privately owned business what they can and can't allow in their business," said one person opposed to the ban.

Another person agreed with his argument.

"If you people are not going into these businesses and pay their taxes and make their payroll, you've got no business telling them how to run their business," he said.

Mayor Michael Heitzler, who is also against the ban, said he believes government should not be interfering with how others choose to operate their places of employment.

"The city of Goose Creek has no OSHA. The city of Goose Creek has no health department. This is not our business," said Heitzler.

However, Councilman Franklin Moore, who is spearheading the ban, sees things a little differently.

"One of the principle roles for government is to protect the public health and quality of life," said Franklin.

In order for this smoking ban to go into effect, it must pass on second reading. City council is expected to take a final vote some time in January.

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