Garden City ordinance in the works that would ban smoking

GARDEN CITY, Idaho (KBOI) - Garden City leaders are moving forward with plans to ban smoking inside bars and other businesses. City council decided Tuesday night to direct staff members to draft a smoking ban ordinance.

In 2004, the state of Idaho prohibited smoking indoors pretty much anywhere children under the age of 21 are allowed. That meant bars could still allow it. The city of Boise later expanded the ban to include bars and even some outdoor locations. Now, Garden City is considering similar restrictions.

"Some people come from Boise to Garden City to where they can smoke and enjoy their drink and enjoy their TV without having to go out into the hot or the rain or whatever," said Morgan Van Buskirk of Garden City.

Van Buskirk drinks at Shorty's Saloon on Glenwood Street, where ash trays line the counter. A bartender says more smokers are going to Shorty's, now that a competitor has banned cigarettes.

"I think it would have an impact on the businesses," said Melanie Riley of Boise. "Unfortunately, that's the downside of it, but at the same time, there's a health issue, so I think that's a bit more prominent."

Riley said she avoids the bars in Garden City that allow smoking. Others vote with their feet.

"I know some people, personally, that make it a destination to come to Shorty's or other bars in Garden City, just so they can enjoy their cigarette with their drink inside without feeling like a pariah and going outside every time they want one," Van Buskirk said.

The owner of the Egyptian Smoke Shop had not heard about the proposal and didn't know if it would affect his business.

City staffers say Boise's smoke-free air ordinance would shape Garden City's. Still in the very early stages of the process on the proposed smoking ban, council members will take a look at the draft ordinance in two weeks.