Dallas Committee to Analyze Smoking Ban Expansion

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert on Wednesday night called for the formation of an ad hoc committee to examine the options of expanding the city's smoking ban.

The creation of the committee, comprised of city council members, was perhaps spurred by briefing documents that were formally presented to the council and mayor on Wednesday.

The documents present an analysis of the current smoking ban, detailing where smoking is prohibited and allowed as well as listing various government options, as well as their predicted budget costs. The documents also contain a chart comparing how cities in Texas and nationwide have handled the smoking ban issue.

"We know it's an important issue, and we want to deal with it in the right way," said Leppert, according to a Dallas Morning News report.

The current law, in effect since 2003, bans smoking in most workplaces and all restaurants, but allows customers in bars, pool halls and tobacco shops to light up.

The documents, signed by interim assistant city manager Forest Turner, also recommend that the council consider the issue at its November 19 meeting, but this appears unlikely to happen.

Instead, the mayor gave no specific timetable for when the ad hoc committee should report back to the council with its recommendations.

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