GSB to consider smoking ban

Steven Brittain

The Government of the Student Body will decide tonight its stand on the proposed Ames restaurant smoking ban that currently is under scrutiny by the Ames City Council.

GSB will debate two senate resolutions – one pro- and one anti-smoking ban – that are on the table.

The senate will make its vote on which resolution that they want to send to the Ames City Council, with the hope that it will sway the council’s final vote.

The resolution supporting the ban was authored by Michael Schaefer, engineering and is supported by a number of other senators. William Tinder, Richardson Court Association, said he is backing the resolution because there are two strong reasons to support it.

“First off, there is the secondhand smoke issue. There have been numerous studies that have proved that secondhand smoke is every bit as dangerous as firsthand,” Tinder said. “Second, smoking is a convenience where health is not. People who want to smoke can easily get up and go outside.”

Schaefer said it was the secondhand smoke issue that inspired him to write the bill.

“It is a case of allowing one person’s right to smoke infringe on a variety of other people’s health rights,” he said.

The counter-resolution, which was authored by Phillip Burgmeier, off campus, states that the ban is an “unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion by the city” and that GSB should oppose the ban because “no person is forced to eat at a restaurant that allows smoking.”

Matt Bormann, agriculture, said he is against the ban because it inhibits the free choice of the business owners.

“I hate smoking, but what I don’t like even more is when people try to tell other people how to run their businesses,” he said. “It’s a supply-and-demand issue for the owners. If the owner gets more business when he allows smoking, then it should be his right to do so.”

All of the senators have been encouraged to discuss the issue with their constituents so that more than just the senate members’ personal beliefs will be represented by the resolution. Tinder said he presented the resolutions to RCA residents and that, overall, they supported the proposed smoking ban.

Ames City Council had the smoking ban on its agenda to be discussed when it met Tuesday evening, and council members expect to put the issue to a final vote Oct. 24.