Court: Bullitt Health Dept. can impose smoking ban

Published: Dec. 7, 2012 at 11:52 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2012 at 11:58 PM EST
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The view inside Denny's Classic Diner in Shepherdsville.
The view inside Denny's Classic Diner in Shepherdsville.
A man lights up a cigarette inside the diner.
A man lights up a cigarette inside the diner.

BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – In the war between smokers and non-smokers, it seems the side that wants to clear the air has won in Bullitt County.

The manager of Denny's Classic Diner in Shepherdsville hopes to get rid of the restaurant's smoking section.

"I think it's about time people catch up with the times," manager Jesse Broughton said. "I think everybody has the right to go into a facility that is a smoke-free facility."

Dr. Swannie Jett with the Bullitt County Health Department is breathing a sigh of relief after the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that it is legal for the health department to impose a smoking ban in public buildings.

"Overall, to us, it's just about the health," Jett said. "It has nothing to do with the legality of the issue. We're really looking to protect the citizens of Bullitt County."

Last year, the cities in Bullitt County, along with county government sued the health department over the issue.

Norman Lemme, an attorney who represents the city of Mt. Washington said, "The opinion in our mind is a little strange, but when political correctness meets legal correctness, political correctness trumps. The issue was not smoking, but authority of a non-elected body to pass laws with criminal penalties."

Smoker Donnie Stidham believes the business with suffer. "I think they would lose a lot of customers in restaurants and stuff."

Stidhams friend, fellow smoker Gary Montgomery, had mixed feelings. "As long as I don't bother anybody else, I think it's fine. But, I mean, I don't like bothering people either," Montgomery said.

For now, Montgomery and Stidham can enjoy their cigarettes since the legal side of the issue hasn't been decided.

The case could head to the Kentucky Supreme Court or each Bullitt County city could pass its own statutes on whether to allow smoking in public buildings.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.