Smoke Clearing In Caldwell?

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Smoking may soon be banned in most public places in Caldwell, including restaurants and convenience stores. It is all because of a proposed smoking ordinance that, if passed, may or may not have an economic impact on the community.

Caldwell's Mayor, Bernard Rychlik, says before a ban can be passed, both sides of the issue must be addressed.

"We need to know what are the ramifications of the whole project," Rychlik said.

The mayor said the city council started looking at a smoking ban when they were presented with some concerns.

"We have some individuals that I think, possibly, their grandchildren were working in some of the fast food places or restaurants," Rychlik said, "and they felt like that was harming those grandchildren."

Rychlik says he would guess Caldwell residents are divided 50/50 on the proposed ordinance. But if it passes, it would not affect all businesses. Smokers would be able to light up in bars and fraternal organizations. Even though a number of businesses offer some type of accommodation for both smokers and non-smokers, the proposed ordinance would eliminate smoking in these establishments all together.

Besides discussing the specifics of the smoking ban, Rychlik says they also need to consider enforcing the ban.

"You can make rules and you can make ordinances," Rychlik said, "but until you figure out how you are going be able to enforce it (the ban won't make) a difference," Rychlik said.

The city council will discuss the ordinance in a workshop this coming Monday to gain input from residents.

"Everybody can kind speak their own piece," Rychlik said.