Powell City Council abandons talk of smoking ban

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) — The Powell City Council has abandoned further discussion of a citywide smoking ban after opponents turned out in force to speak against the idea.

The issue had been before the council for two months. On Monday, all but one of a dozen people who addressed the council about the ban said they opposed it, the Powell Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/16YB51Q ).

Mayor Don Hillman said people should be able to make their own choices about patronizing businesses that allow or don’t allow smoking, and business owners have a right to operate as they see fit.

“In my opinion, we already have a smoking ban in Powell; it is self-imposed,” Hillman said. “I think it’s time we put this thing behind us. Let’s let the people make their own choices. That’s my opinion.”

Wyoming cities with recent smoking bans include Cheyenne, Laramie, Rock Springs and Casper.

This summer, Casper amended its smoking ban to allow smoking in bars not associated with restaurants. The city also amended its ordinance to allow smoking in nursing homes and industrial workshops off-limits to the general public.

Those who spoke against Powell’s proposed ban included former Cody and Powell police officer Gene Olmsted, who said he’s a non-smoker.

“My big question right now is, how do you ban a legal substance?” Olmsted said.

Those in favor of a smoking ban are part of a “back-door way” to ban things they don’t like, he said, drawing applause from others.

Four people were on the agenda to speak about health problems caused by smoking, but only one, John Vipperman, a physician’s assistant at the Big Horn Basin Regional Cancer Center, spoke up.

“I see a lot of tobacco-related cancers,” Vipperman said. “One of the ways we can help curb that is through clean indoor air.”

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Information from: Powell (Wyo.) Tribune, http://www.powelltribune.com

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