Smoking Banned in Public Places

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In February the Lincoln City Council passed a smoking ban ordinance after for months of often heated negotiations. Now they are reversing course allowing no exemptions to the ban.

Council members Ken Svoboda, Jon Camp, Glen Friendt and Terry Werner voted in favor of the full ban.

Even the man who took a chance introducing the change was surprised but pleased it passed.

“I’d supported this all along. I’m very proud that Lincoln is the first city in Nebraska to attempt this and finally get this passed,” said Svoboda.

The Health Department introduced the Lincoln Smoke-free Air Act in the fall of 2003. It was heavily supported by one local group.

“We’re absolutely thrilled. Tobacco free Lincoln has been working toward this day for the past five years,” said Cindy Wostrel with Smoke Free Lincoln.

Not everyone is happy. Council members Jonathan Cook, Patte Newman and Annette McRoy all voted against the measure.

During the meeting cook argued that they should not change the ban so drastically.

“To now completely change direction from that… I think is completely unacceptable at this time. I will vote against this change,” said Cook.

The Health Department says they will most likely give businesses a grace period until November 1st to comply.

The ordinance will take effect fifteen days after it is approved by the mayor. Mayor Coleen Seng says she will sign it.