Waco City Council Approves New Smoking Law

WACO, TX (KWTX) – New hookah and cigar bars may be coming to Waco following a City Council unanimous decision today.

Director of Development Services Clint Peters said it could bring more business to Waco following requests to change the ordinance.

“There were some requests from some potential business owners who wanted to do them, who wanted the board to look into it, and so he came forward,” Peters said.

The regulation will allow these businesses to operate in a separate facility or have a separate ventilation system if they are in a mixed-use building.

However, most health officials, such as Sherri Williams, say non-smokers are still at risk from secondhand smoke.

“My concern, like many other healthcare professionals, is with families, workers, and clients who may be unwittingly exposed to smoke in multi-family buildings, even when a separate ventilation system is in place,” Williams said.

Council member Jim Holmes said the council does not condone the use of tobacco products and has tightened standards for individual ventilation systems to avoid secondhand smoke.

“We recognize the dangers of smoking and are committed to essentially banning smoking in public places, with one tiny exception,” Holmes said.

“I think if they operate within the very limited scope of what the ordinance allows, then I think that’s fine,” Peters said.

Officials said the order would only take effect 10 days after it was passed.

They said that if the business owners meet the requirements, they can apply as early as the next couple of weeks.

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