Capping months of debate, the Irving City Council strengthened its smoking ban but exempted many existing businesses in a 6-3 vote late.
A 2006 law banned smoking in most public places but left many exceptions. On Thursday, the council banned smoking in public parks and forced 10 sports-themed cafes to eliminate their smoking sections.
AdvertisementBut restaurants such as Cool River Cafe, which installed expensive ventilation to have smoking sections under the old law, will be able to keep them under a grandfather clause. So will a bingo hall and several hotels.
However, the exemption of restaurants has raised the ire of health advocates. The Mayor Beth Van Duyne called it a "silly, ridiculous ordinance" that creates "discrimination in the law," before joining council members Brad LaMorgese and Tom Spink in trying to block it. Before the vote, three members of the city's health advisory board resigned in protest of the new law.