Voters approve public smoking ban in Excelsior Springs

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. -- Voters in Excelsior Springs are leaving little to doubt. In Tuesday's election, 60 percent of voters approved a smoking ban in the city's public places.

Open the door to any storefront in Excelsior Springs, and you're bound to get an earful. Tuesday night's election clears the air, as voters express their desire for a ban on smoking in public places. That new ordinance will go into effect soon, affecting all enclosed businesses.

Misty Wright and her staff at Broadway Bar and Grill are ahead of the vote. She helped convert this former restaurant into a combination pool hall and tavern less than a year ago. Wright has operated as a non-smoking bar from the beginning... Requiring customers to smoke on this patio out back.

"A lot of people come in and complain about the non-smoking," Wright said. "They walk outside, smoke and then, come back in, but the non-smokers won't even walk in."

It's a similar story at the Mill Inn, a family diner that's viewed more as an institution in Excelsior Springs. Operators of that restaurant banned smoking at their tables back in December. Marion O'Dell eats here several times per week. He says he's less likely to go to public places that allow smoking, but if people want a cigarette, they're bound to get one.

"It didn't bother me one way or the other," O'Dell said. "I didn't smoke, and it didn't really bother me if people did smoke."

This new smoking ban replaces an older ordinance that was on the books, but as one business operator told FOX 4, it wasn't enforced. City officials elected not to comment on-camera about this vote, but one of them says an exception may be made in the case of private clubs.

Clint Hylton couldn't disagree more with Tuesday's vote. The local insurance agency operator has smoked for 20 years.

"It's up to the people who run that business to decide what they do, and if the patrons don't go there, that's up to them," Hylton said.

"It's coming whether any of us like it or not," Wright added. "They're doing it all over. It's just a matter of time."

This city's council is expected to move the new ordinance into law soon.

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