Kennett to enforce smoking ban following election

KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - It was a hot topic on the ballot Tuesday in Kennett where 68 percent of the voters that turned out decided to ban smoking in public places. However, it will be a while until it is put into place.

The city council still has to pass the ordinance, which could take a month or so.

Once they do, local police will start enforcing the ban.

"It passed with a two-thirds majority vote," City Councilman Bobby McMahon said.

He said the people have spoken. The city council will likely pass the ordinance either at their next meeting on April 19 or the following meeting in May.

Some people in town say they're glad the ban passed.

"As an ex-smoker, it still bothers me," Peggy Mclain said. "I know for medical reasons I had to quit, so it's not very good to be around smokers."

Many businesses like John's Waffle and Pancake House have already gone smoke-free. Soon, all restaurants and other public places will have to follow suit.

Under the new ordinance, smokers will have to be 25 feet from outdoor playgrounds and the same distance from any entrances to any local businesses.

Some places will be exempt, such as private clubs and bars.

"In a bar, I definitely think it's different. I mean, smoking and drinking go hand in hand," said Tracy York, a customer at Shaker's Bar.

She said she supports the ban in restaurants.

"In a restaurant that's family oriented, I know a lot of people wouldn't want to take their kids where there is smoke," York said.

Officers in Kennett say they'll enforce the ordinance just like any other law.

"An officer could go by and take a report and it could either be noted in a letter of warning or a citing into court," said Public Safety Director John Mallott.

Mallott says the fire marshal will also check for smoking ban violations when inspecting businesses.

"[He will look for] ashtrays, cigarette butts, things of that nature," Mallott said.

Some say this ban could be the start of a larger trend across the state.

"I hope that other cities follow suit and will do the same," McMahon said. "Maybe this will get the ball rolling and eventually, hopefully, the state will go smoke free."

City officials say the changes will likely go into effect before mid-May.

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