Capping months of debate, the Irving City Council
strengthened its smoking ban but exempted many existing businesses in a 6-3
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.
But 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
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.