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Not all Local Businesses are Supportive of Proposed Smoking Ordinance

Springfield Mayor Jim O’Neal has proposed a smoking ban for all indoor public places. But, not all local businesses are too enthusiastic about the changes being made to the current wording of the ordinance.

Jessica Hutson, owner of men’s shop Just for Him, says she believes each business should have the choice to allow smoking or not. Just for Him specializes in pipes, cigars, and tobacco products. A section of the store is devoted to tobacco, where one can sit and have a smoke. She says she’s worried that a no-smoking ordinance would put her store out of business. Hutson also says the exemptions on the current ordinance regarding public smoking do not need to be updated.

“They give enough leeway to most of the businesses and most of the consumers that people can find the type of business that they are looking for. And if they remove those exemptions, then they’re starting to hinder the ability for a number of the business owners in town to actually operate their business,” she said.

For specialty stores like Just for Him or The Albatross Hookah Lounge downtown, most, if not all, of the revenue is based on smoking.

Co-chairman of the grassroots health coalition One Air Alliance Carrie Reynolds believes the positive effects of the ordinance will outweigh the negative outcomes.

“It’s going to be a positive impact on the community from a health perspective, and that’s what we really wanted us to be focused on. We know from other communities that have gone before us and done this, that bars and restaurants still thrive and do well,” she said.

But Reynolds did not mention how businesses like Just for Him are supposed to stay open with the new ban in place.

June 28 is the date for the ordinance to be proposed to the city council, and the council will be open for comments from local business owners. Jessica Hutson says that her business will be there to suggest some sort of clause allowing her business to continue to function as is.

For KSMU News, I'm Ryan Welch.