Smokers can enjoy a rare victory in the Banning Wars thanks to Galveston.
The city council there ignored the wishes of the new mayor and in a close vote revised the drastic ban on public smoking that had been in effect since the first of the year.
That ban outlawed smoking in bars, restaurants, private clubs -- including outdoor seating areas -- and within 15 feet of the doorways to such establishments.
The new law greatly eases those rules, to the extent that councilmember Elizabeth Beeton told her colleaugues "So basically, we're going to allow smoking. We're going back to the `70s."
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The new ordinance allows smoking in bars that are "adult venues," which isnt't as sexy as it sounds. It just means the places don't allow anyone under 18 inside.
Outdoor seating areas are now fine for smoking, as are private clubs. And the doorway-Siberia guidelines have been reduced from 15 feet to five.
Mayor Joe Jaworski asked the council, according to the Galveston County Daily News, to delay the vote so that organizations like the Chamber of Commerce could weigh in on it, as opposed to just "tavern owners."
Jaworski said the island's tourists come from cities like Houston and San Antonio where smoking bans have been in effect for some time, and those visitors might be turned off by eased smoking rules.