Dexter debates going smoke free - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Dexter debates going smoke free

Should smoking be allowed in public places? Should smoking be allowed in public places?
Lay says he's allowed smoking since opening almost five years ago. Lay says he's allowed smoking since opening almost five years ago.
It's a different story for Dexter Parks and Recreation director Lawson Metcalf. It's a different story for Dexter Parks and Recreation director Lawson Metcalf.
DEXTER, MO (KFVS) -

It's an issue that has split many areas of the country. Should smoking be allowed in public places? The city of Dexter Board of Alderman discussed the issue in a recent meeting.

"Approximately 55 to 60 percent are smokers and that seems to be growing all the time," Robert Lay, owner of The Grill said.

Lay says he's allowed smoking since opening almost five years ago.

"We definitely are not going to alienate over half of our business on this," Lay said.

Lay says as May 1, his business is going to expand into the building next to his restaurant. That side will be strictly for non-smokers.

It's a different story for Dexter Parks and Recreation director Lawson Metcalf.

"The focus of the parks and rec department in Dexter for most part is sports programming," Metcalf said.

Metcalf says look at the numbers. He estimates about 1,500 kids play sports here. It's his job to keep them safe.

"Safety is our number concern," Metcalf said. "You would be looking at it from our standpoint as far as the physical safety. The secondhand smoke is a part of safety too."

Metcalf says they have already put signs up to discourage smoking around the bleachers. But he wants it to go one step further.

"As far as sports programming, I would like to see smoking banned from all of our sports facilities," Metcalf said.

From a restaurant standpoint, Lay would like the status quo.

"I really wish it would be left up to the individual and business owner," Lay said.

Illinois passed the statewide ban, Smoke Free Illinois, which bans smoking in most buildings.

In Kentucky, there is no statewide ban but some cities including Paducah don't allow smoking in buildings open to the public.

Copyright 2013 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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