In Baytown, At Least, You Can Still Smoke Free And Die (Maybe)

Houston city officials may be insisting that the smoking ban in bars is just peachy keen, but in Baytown they're having a revolution.

City officials have agreed to yet another smoking referendum: one that will seek to allow smoking in "stand-alone" bars that are not connected to a strip mall or a hotel.

It's the third smoking referendum in less than three years in the gritty city.

Right now smoking is pretty much banned in all public places there, but bar-owners and cig supporters gathered enough signatures on a petition to force another vote. And one recently elected city councilman ran as a critic of the citywide ban.

"I personally have no issue with adults smoking in stand-alone bars," Mayor Steve DonCarlos told the Houston Chronicle's Baytown blogger.. "However, the public has voted for a complete ban twice so my position would be to favor (an election)." (The second vote was a rejection of a proposal to lift the initial ban. Like we said, they like to vote on these things a lot in Baytown.)

The vote is scheduled for May 9. After that, if it passes, the air in Baytown may get a little dirty.

Not that you'd notice, of course.

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