PRESTONSBURG — The city council approved a relatively strong ban on smoking in public places Monday night.
After rejecting an exemption for businesses with patrons 18 and older, such as bars, council members voted 5-2 in favor of the ordinance, which will allow smoking in outdoor areas of restaurants and in private clubs.
Recipients of charitable gambling revenues at the local bingo hall weren't pleased. Mary Stephens, on the board of the Jenny Wiley Summer Theatre, said her organization and others will look for a hall outside the city limits when the smoking ban takes effect Nov. 1.
"With the economy the way it is, it's too hard to keep it profitable" without smoking, Stephens said. She said she didn't buy research that shows that smoking bans haven't affected bingo revenues in other parts of the state.
Scott Lockard, vice president of the Kentucky Public Health Association and director of the Clark County health department, said during the meeting that some bingo games, including those in Clark County, have enjoyed increased revenues because people buy more concessions when they're not smoking.
Prestonsburg's ban will be among the stronger ordinances in the state, Lockard said.
"This is the ideal we all shoot for" to protect public health, he said.