Brenham's Smoking Ban Is A Step Closer

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The debate over lighting up in Brenham is close to being decided.

In a 4-3 vote last week, the city council approved adopting a tougher city smoking ordinance.

When enacted, the ban would stop smokers from lighting up in all public places. As it stands now, that means smokers in bars would have to extinguish their cigarettes.

Brenham Health Inspector Sherri Koepnick says there is the possibility that could change.

"In the second reading, we will see if that holds," Koepnick said. "We have have had quite a bit of feedback from our citizens."

A second reading of the ordinance will be held at next week's council meeting. Amendments to the smoking ordinance could be made and voted on at that time.

Koepnick has the job of coming up with some of those changes.

"They asked for some refinement, in especially how you are going to enforce the ordinances, what penalties are there going to be," Koepnick said.

Having researched several smoking ordinances around Texas, Koepnick says businesses would be fined $50 for their first offense. Subsequent violations would increase accordingly.

"The second offense within a 12-month period is a hundred dollars," Koepnick said. "The third offense in a twelve month period I think is $250. It just keeps moving up."

Business operators like Legends' Billiards and Grill manager Georgia Armentor say they understand the purpose behind the ban, but it should be left up to each individual business.

"People have the choice of deciding whether they want to make it smoking or non-smoking," Armentor said.

Armentor thinks the smoking ordinance could affect what they can offer their customers.

"It will take away from a lot of the entertainment that people like to do here," Armentor said.

The final word will come from the council. Officials hope residents will obey the smoking ban, whatever the city decides.