Fort Worth City Council Votes to Ban Smoking in Bars

The Fort Worth City Council voted Tuesday to pass a smoking ban ordinance, outlawing smoking in bars and bingo halls.

Beginning March 12, smoking will be banned in bars and bingo parlors in the city. The City Council on Tuesday voted 8-1 to approve updates to the city's smoking ordinance for the first time since 2008. The new law also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes and where smoke shops can be located in the city.

Councilman Dennis Shingleton said, "this is a step in the right direction."

Until Tuesday, Fort Worth had been the only city to not go smoke-free in Tarrant County and was one of the last major cities in Texas to ban smoking in bars.

"That surprised me that it took so long to be honest," said Jim Segrest, who calls himself a social smoker. "If you want to smoke you should be able to smoke. If you don't want to go to a bar where there's smoke, don't to to that bar."

The push for the ordinance change came in October by the group Smoke-free Fort Worth, a consortium of 50 organizations from health, business and community interests. Council members said the city's smoking ordinance hasn't kept pace with public sentiment and data that show the ill effects of secondhand smoke.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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