Public Forum on Smoking Ordinance in Longview

The public was allowed to voice their support, or opposition, in front of Longview City Council today over a heated issue of a proposed zero tolerance smoking ordinance. City Hall was packed with health-care professionals and business owners this morning, all wanting a chance to sound off on an ordinance that would ban smoking in all public buildings, from night clubs to restaurants to bowling alleys. Supporters cite the hazards of smoking and of second hand smoke to all non-smokers and say businesses wouldn't be hurt by the ban. Business owners are angry that they would lose revenue and the city would take away their right to make the decision for themselves on whether to allow smoking in their buildings. Although comments were kept brief, both sides gave the council and earfull. Another public forum will be held at 4 p-m Thursday, with the council set to vote on the ordinance immediately afterwards.