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Will Smoking Ban Blow Over Into Buda, Kyle?

With neighbors in San Marcos pondering a city-wide smoking cigarettes ban, it doesn’t hurt to speculate if a similar ordinance could blow in the direction of Kyle or Buda.

Austin already has an indoor smoking cigarettes ban, though smokers are generally permitted their nicotine fix in outdoor areas. San Marcos council members are in the early stages of discussing a possible ban and have not decided if the city, home to vibrant nightlife anchored by college students, would seek to ban smoking cigarettes in outdoor areas of bars and restaurants as well.

Next week, San Marcos will host two public meetings to discuss a non-binding smoking cigarettes ban in public places, which could end up on the November election ballot.

Kyle and Buda have no ordinances for smoking cigarettes regulating commercial properties, city officials say. With a lack of nightlife, or a bar scene rather, in the local area, would a smoking cigarettes ban be necessary?

No establishments contacted by the Hays Free Press said that they allow smoking cigarettes indoors. Some do have outdoor patios, where patrons can puff away to their heart’s content.

In Kyle, Mayor Lucy Johnson knows that Luvianos Mexican Restaurant has a patio, where smoking cigarettes is permitted. Pisces’s Seafood and Mexican Grill, Hitters Bar and Grill and Bordeaux’s also have similar areas.

“I’m not aware of any places that allow smoking cigarettes indoors,” she said.

She has also never heard complaints from restaurants regarding smoking cigarettes or residents who want to smoke cigarettes inside.

“It’s not an issue in Kyle,” she said.

City spokesperson Jerry Hendrix said that smoking cigarettes rules are up to the businesses.

“We have nothing that regulates smoking cigarettes at commercial businesses,” he said. “That’s all voluntary.”

Buda City Manager Kenneth Williams didn’t know of any smoking cigarettes ordinances in his city.

“We have found no bans on public smoking cigarettes in Buda at this time,” he said.

If a ban was passed in Buda, Councilmember Todd Ruge would be concerned about how to enforce it.

“I believe a well focused ordinance that only included enclosed structures could work in Buda and it could be enforceable,” he said.

Ruge said he has asked several neighbors, both smokers and non-smokers, what they thought of a smoking cigarettes ban.

“All agreed that places like restaurants should have smoking cigarettes bans and all agreed that banning smoking cigarettes in outside areas wouldn’t be enforceable or, if enforced, could open a can of worms for the city,” he said. “I believe code enforcement could easily monitor restaurants and public buildings but we don’t need citizens getting a ticket for having a smoke cigarettes while sitting on a park bench.”

A drastic economic effect also doesn’t seem likely for local businesses if a ban were in place, managers say.

Like other places, John Peanche, general manager of Chavelo’s Mexican Restaurant in Buda, said smoking cigarettes is tolerated on an outdoor patio but not inside.

“There would be no change,” he said of business. “Hardly anyone smokes out there anyways.”

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