During a Ward 1 town-hall meeting last night, June 9, Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) publicly offered his support to expanding the city's smoke-free workplace laws to include the district's bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
The meeting, called by Graham to gauge his constituents' sentiments, attracted about 200 people to the Lincoln Theatre for the sometimes contentious two-hour discussion. Members of Smokefree DC, a group that supports the prohibition, seemed to outnumber ''Ban the Ban'' opponents by roughly five to one.
''What this comes down to for me is this is a health issue,'' Graham said as he closed the meeting. ''The evidence is clear beyond any question. … Whatever we're going to do has to be mandated. I'm prepared tonight to say I will support the smoke-free legislation. As a general principle, we have to be ready to say we don't want second-hand smoke in our workplaces.''
With Graham, there are now eight of 13 Council members who in some way support expanding the smoking ban to include hospitality venues. Three bills with that aim are pending.
Further coverage will appear in the June 16 issue of Metro Weekly.