City Council approves ordinance establishing ‘Smoke-Free Health District”

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Update (10/15): The Birmingham City Council has approved an ordinance that will create a “Smoke-Free Health District” near hospitals in the city.

The ordinance will take effect Dec. 1, 2019. Anyone who is found smoking in this district will be subjected to a fine.

“I certainly support this ordinance having been a smoker. I had to apologize to my wife constantly. It’s an addiction. It’s a demon,” Councilor Steven Hoyt said. “I had a friend of mine who was smoking and I told him it offends me, I don’t even care if that makes me a hypocrite. I had a mother-in-law who died of lung cancer. The issue is about raising awareness. People didn’t think they could survive without smoking in restaurants but here we are today.”

The ordinance will not impact smoking in vehicles or within residences that otherwise allow smoking.


Original (10/15): In Tuesday’s Birmingham city council agenda, the council will be listening to a proposal from local healthcare institutions.

Healthcare officials want to see ‘smoke-free public places’. Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said this will pertain to certain areas around the health district. He said it will not apply to those driving past the hospitals and smoking.

“It really runs counter too what the hospitals are trying to accomplish in terms of healthcare. It’s common knowledge that smoking isn’t good for your health and so the healthcare institutions are trying to promote public health and therefore they want to put this prohibition in place to be a further distance for people to smoke.,” said O’Quinn.

Also being discussed is a self-storage facility trying to be built off Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.

A public hearing for an appeal on the suspension of Morningstar storage, which would be a ministorage building and commercial office will be heard by the council. Right now, there is a moratorium on storage facilities in Birmingham.

The self-storage proposal has been disfavored by neighboring cities and the council, adding that it doesn’t add value or revenue to the city.

Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said that specific corridor between Homewood and Birmingham has big plans and they don’t want to see a mini-storage building go up.

“In this specific corridor there are plans in the works for city of Birmingham and city of Homewood to collaborate reworking that corridor to make it more pedestrian and bicyclist accessible. There is a plan for a green-way on the Homewood side along Griffin Creek that would tie in near Valley Avenue so looking at those plans, this particular corridor could look significantly different in the future,” said O’Quinn.

The Birmingham city council meeting is at 9:30 am on Tuesday, October 15.


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