Fort Worth To Consider Banning Smoking In Bars - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fort Worth To Consider Banning Smoking In Bars

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    Fort Worth will consider moving closer to being completely smoke-free. (Published Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017)

    Fort Worth will consider moving closer to being completely smoke-free. The city is one of the last major cities in Texas to still allow smoking in bars.

    While no vote is expected yet, next week city council members will get information about what needs to happen if they decide to ban smoking in bars.

    Fort Worth bar patrons have gotten used to having that option.

    “They come in, they drink and smoke and it just kind of goes with the atmosphere,” Fuel Bar and Grille bartender Rachel Bell said.

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    Customers at the popular weekend spot were not happy about the idea of losing their smoking option.

    “I don't think that's a very good idea,” Ronald Whitaker of Fort Worth said. “Each business should be able to make a determination if they want smoking allowed or not.”

    “I'm actually surprised that they would want to consider doing something like that,” Bell added.

    Under the current ordinance, smoking is still allowed in an establishment that gets more than 70 percent of its annual gross sales from alcohol consumed at the bar. Extending the reach of the ordinance would make smoking illegal in these bars as well.

    “We've been talking about this on and off for several years,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “Billy Bob's went smoke-free. Two or three of our other sites and bars have and that's a good indication that there's a groundswell.

    Health is the factor that most concerns advocacy groups like Smoke Free Fort Worth.

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    “We know that 41,000 people are going to die this year as a result of secondhand smoke,” Dr. Mark Koch of Smoke Free Fort Worth said.

    But still some like non-smoker Rachel Bell feel the decision should be personal.

    “They're going to tell Texans that they can't smoke in a bar? I just think that's crazy,” she said.

    “If they don't want to smell the smoke or breathe the smoke don't come in here,” Whitaker said.

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