Some Are Fuming Over Smoking Ban

MOUNDSVILLE – People shopping at the Moundsville Plaza Saturday either agreed with the expansion of the smoking ban or thought it was too stringent – while others said it should be expanded even further.

On Friday, the Marshall County Board of Health unanimously voted to expand its ban to include outdoor public areas such as parks, playgrounds and fairs and festivals. But a section in those areas still could be designated for smokers with health department approval. Board members said the reason for the expansion, scheduled to be implemented April 1, is to protect children.

”I think it’s good to keep it away from kids. I think during county fairs they should designate a place to smoke – that would be fair,” said Amy Lemasters of Jacobsburg in Wetzel County.

Moundsville resident and smoker Aubrey Payne disagrees with the ban’s expansion to outdoor venues.

”I think it’s very wrong to do that. They always talk about non-smokers’ rights, what about smokers’ rights?” she said. ”If there is a child beside me I will move – I’m polite about it. They should tell people not to be disrespectful.”

Moundsville resident C.J. Derrow, who plans on quitting smoking today, said he always moves away from children when smoking, too.

”That’s what I’m used to. During family functions I go out back away from the kids,” he said.

Becky Morgan, a Jacobsburg, Ohio, resident, said she enjoys coming to Moundsville’s Riverfront Park for summertime concerts. But she dislikes it when people smoke in the crowd. She agrees with the expansion of the ban and believes having a designated area set aside for smokers is OK.

”It’s not likely to affect anyone else. … I lost my dad to smoking. And my mom – she was allergic to the medicine they gave him,” Morgan noted.

Bellaire resident Martin Paliah said he enjoys shopping and eating out in Moundsville, but he believes the ban should be expanded to bars and bars that serve food as well. Currently, smoking still is allowed in bars and video gambling parlors.

The newly expanded regulation also calls for banning smoking at motels and hotels, something Haven Inn of Glen Dale owner Jim Weekley is looking forward to.

”It could actually prevent a structure fire,” Weekley told the board of health Friday before their vote was taken.

He told the board he is constantly having to replace and repair damage caused by smokers.

His hotel currently has 16 smoking rooms and 28 non-smoking rooms. He said it will be easier to be completely smoke free when his competitor hotels are forced to also not allow smoking.