Is the Great New Albany Smoke-Out coming down the pike?

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NAC touched briefly on this item Sunday:

Smoking ban approaches in New Albany, by Eric Scott Campbell (News and Tribune).

New Albany could ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces and workplaces as early as January, using a model similar to Jeffersonville’s and Louisville’s new laws.

Councilman Larry Kochert plans to propose such a law once legislators overhaul budget and staffing for the city’s two ambulances.

Cynics might suggest that the key word in this passage is “once,” and that CM Kochert’s anti-smoking law might well have to wait until Doomsday to see introduction, much lass passage, given the council’s chronic inability to act decisively and CM Dan Coffey’s probable absence (he’ll be mugging for the cameras while pushing gurneys down State Street or posing behind the wheel of an ambulance wearing a fire hat and a vintage Joe McCarthy sneer).

Council president Jeff Gahan hasn’t seen enough of the ordinance to form an opinion yet, though his “initial impression is that we may need to … consider additional exceptions.” He declined to elaborate on what extra exceptions he’d support before the council debate begins.

“The evidence is there that secondhand smoke is harmful, and it is something that we can’t ignore, but tobacco is not an illegal substance,” Gahan said.

Campbell’s article notes that none of the current sitting council members use tobacco, suggesting perhaps that in spite of previous signals to the contrary, local anti-smoking advocates view their prospects as warmer now than after the elections of 2007 usher in a shiny new class of contestants. At the same time, recalling the rancor and divisiveness inspired by the smoking issue in surrounding communities, CM Kochert’s prospective push may be nothing more than a tactical trial balloon.

For more, see also: Another incremental gain for local anti-smoking advocates.

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