Smoking Ban Draws Ire

Madisonville, KY – Less than two months after passing a public smoking ban in Madisonville, the Hopkins County Board of Health is considering tightening restrictions even further. Among other changes, the board is considering removing the provision that allows separately ventilated smoking spaces for persons 21 and older. The board held its first reading of the edited regulations Wednesday. Ronnie Fox is building a new location for his restaurant, Foxy's Bar-B-Que. He's spent upwards of 25 thousand dollars installing a separate ventilation system for his restaurant to comply with the regulations, which will be money wasted if the new restrictions pass.

"What it's amounted to is it's cost me one tremendous amount of money and a delay to get the restaurant open because I had to have all the plans changed, I was fully compliant- and the extra construction, the extra ventilation, heat and air, the extra electrical and all that- it's gone."

Fox says he's already consulted an attorney, and if the board passes the new restrictions, he plans to file suit. Health Department Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Specialist Lisa Miller says the board decided take another look at the ban because members realized as it currently stands, the ban only protects the health of those under 21, not the entire community. The board will take public comments during next Wednesday's second reading, after which the revisions will be put to a vote.