Murray leaders considering smoking ordinance

MURRAY, KY — An attack on personal freedom or protecting the right to health? That’s the debate surrounding a potential smoking ordinance in Murray.

Mayor Jack Rose says the ordinance is already being drafted. He also says he hopes to have it finalized and up for the city commission’s vote within the next month.

Talk of the ordinance has smokers and some local business owners concerned about what will happen if it passes.

Food, fellowship, and the occasional cigarette are the three things that draw Faye Dodd to The Apple in Murray. “Not only the people, but yes, the fact that you can smoke in the bar while you’re in here, that’s a major thing,” Dodd says.

That major thing could soon be a thing of the past if city leaders pass an ordinance to eliminate smoking in bars.

The Big Apple Owner Ron Gladden, or “RG” as most call him, says 80 percent of his daily business comes from people who smoke in the bar section of the restaurant.

Gladden says he’s concerned about how a smoking ordinance would affect his business. “If they went with a complete non-smoking ordinance, then I would lose a large percentage of my daytime business, and I stated that in the city council meeting. I get a feeling that they may lean towards letting restaurants and bars have a smoking area, but that’s a feeling, and those feelings can go away fast during a city council meeting,” Gladden says.

Rose says the ordinance is a product of community concerns. “I’m responding to what people were concerned about when I was campaigning, although it matched one of my concerns —and my No. 1 concern in all of this is health,” Rose says.

Until and unless the ordinance passes, Gladden says his customers can continue to smoke at The Big Apple. “They’re going to keep coming in at 11 o’clock and lighting up their cigarettes, staying ’til 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and then go home,” Gladden says.

Dodd says: “Obviously, if you’re in an establishment where you can have an adult beverage, you’re gonna want to have a cigarette while you’re in there.”

Rose says he hopes to have the working draft in front of city commissioners by next week.

Local 6 has requested a copy of a draft of the ordinance, but will not receive one until commissioners review it.

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