Smoking ban could lead to litter in city

By Northern Star Editorial Board

If DeKalb is going to implement an ordinance that bans people from smoking within 15 feet of patios in public places, it should be ready to compromise by giving smokers other options for where to put their cigarette butts and ashes.

Before Thursday, it was only illegal to be within 15 feet of a business entrance while smoking, but the ordinance makes it illegal to smoke on public patios.

If the City Council is going to ban people from smoking in places where there are ashtrays and cigarette receptacles available than the city should also be prepared to make up for this.

Businesses like O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Highway, have had customers who weren’t happy about the ordinance, said O’Leary’s manager Adam Bohr.

Bohr said he doesn’t think the ordinance will affect O’Leary’s since other businesses and bars must enforce it.

The customers “weren’t informed about the law, and we had to inform them,” Bohr said. “What bothers me about it … [is] now people are going to go outside of the patio [to smoke], and they’re going to litter our streets when they could be inside our beer garden putting it in our ashtrays … now they’re just going to go out and flick their cigarettes in the streets, and it makes our city look even worse.”

This ordinance won’t stop people from smoking cigarettes, and people will continue smoking in the downtown area. Local businesses should not have to clean up used cigarettes butts. Instead, the city should provide cigarette butt receptacles.

These receptacles should be close to businesses with public patios so people who are at a bar don’t have to walk far enough to properly dispose of their cigarettes and trash.