As he sat at Stub and Herbs bar smoking a cigarette, Duaine Jackola said he is glad St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly vetoed the city’s all-out smoking ban.
Kelly vetoed the citywide ban Monday, but St. Paul bars could still see restrictions. Ramsey County commissioners are expected to vote on a limited county ban today.
Jackola is a research scientist at the University, and said he is against a smoking ban because there is no way to enforce it.
“Who is going to monitor the situation to make sure that people don’t smoke?” Jackola said.
Jackola said that if there is going to be a ban, it needs to be countywide, regional or even statewide, but even that is not a good idea.
“It is just another way for government to interfere in people’s lives,” Jackola said.
Jackola said he served in the military for six years, and he does not need the government to tell him what he can do.
Instead, Jackola said, bars should improve their air with filtering systems to decrease risks posed by secondhand smoke.
Bar manager Rita Sanders said she also wanted Kelly to veto the ban.
“I would prefer not having a ban, but I’m sure that we’ll have it eventually,” Sanders said.
She manages Wild Tymes Bar and Grill in St. Paul and is a smoker herself.
“I think (a ban) would hurt business for a while,” Sanders said.
The ban’s author, St. Paul City Council member Dave Thune, said he is disappointed in Kelly.
“The mayor’s decision is just going to let people continue to get sick,” Thune said.
He said he was not happy when he heard Kelly vetoed the ban.
“I sighed because it is just too bad, especially for bar workers,” Thune said.
Thune said he is concerned about bar workers’ exposure to high levels of secondhand smoke, and thought Kelly would pass the ban.
“Kelly just didn’t take the lead on this one,” Thune said. “He should just admit that he is buckling to the bar owners’ wishes.”
Thune said he will be watching what happens in Ramsey and Hennepin counties.
Officials in Hennepin County held a hearing Monday about the proposed countywide ban.
“It’s just a matter of time before a ban is passed,” Thune said.