Manchester applauded for success of smoke-free ordinance

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

MANCHESTER, Ky (WYMT) - The Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy is applauding the city of Manchester for its efforts to improve the health of residents. Two years ago, all public places with the exception of tobacco stores went smoke-free.

It is not unusual to see cigarette butts smoldering outside businesses in eastern Kentucky. But that is not the case at Aunt Bea's Diner in downtown Manchester. Business owner Bobbi Coomer tells WYMT regardless of what some of her customers want, she follows the ordinance.

"People have tried to smoke in here and I have had to ask them to put it out and they kind of grumble," said Coomer.

Despite the push back, Coomer said many are happy their meals are no longer clouded by smoke.

"Quite a few people say, you know, they prefer the non-smoking area," said Coomer.

Manchester Mayor George Saylor said he is not surprised.

"The smokers will say they will quite coming there if they make it non-smoking but the thing about it is they may have two or three people not come. But these people that have families that cannot stand the smoke, they start going to that place," said Saylor.

City Council approved the measure in an effort to improve the health of those who call this town home. But Coomer, who is a smoker, wishes the decision was left up to her.

"You cannot smoke in your building anymore when we pay the rent and I kind of feel like it is a little unfair that we should be able to make those choices for ourselves," said Coomer.

Still, Mayor Saylor said most have adjusted accordingly.

"People do not even talk about it any more," said Saylor.

Saylor adds that Somerset, Corbin, London, Prestonsburg and Williamsburg are the only other communities in southeast Kentucky with smoke-free laws in their communities.

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