Birmingham Sends Warning Letters to Businesses

Years of research has proven that smoking is not only hazardous to the smoker’s health, but to those around the smoker, as well.  Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products can cause cancer.  Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds, and more than 250 of these chemicals are known to be harmful, and 69 or more are known to cause cancer.

In an effort to reduce the risk of not only cancer, but other health problems associated with smoking, the city of Birmingham put into effect a strict anti-smoking rule two months ago.  According to city officials, some businesses are refusing to comply with the no smoking ban and are still allowing patrons to smoke inside their businesses.

The smoking rules now dictate that a seven-foot-no-smoking zone outside building entrances be maintained and also requires signs marking outdoor nonsmoking areas.  There are several types of businesses, such as hookah and cigar bars, that are exempt from the smoking rule because at least 80 percent of the businesses’ sales are from tobacco products.

The ordinance was overwhelmingly approved by the City Council in April, and many residents and health advocates hailed the passage of the ban.  However, the smoking ban was opposed by some restaurant and bar owners, who called the measure too restrictive. 

Whether or not business owners in Birmingham agree with the anti-smoking rule, city officials will be citing those owners who refuse to comply.  Councilman Johnathan Austin will be reminding business owners of the penalties they could face by sending letters to those businesses accused of noncompliance. “There are sections of the law that allow for these businesses to be fined,” said Austin. He also added that his goal is to try and have the businesses comply with the law, otherwise “if they continue to violate the law, then, of course, our ultimate decision could be to close their doors.”