NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new council member is pushing for a smoking ban in North Charleston.
Council will talk about it at Thursday night's meeting. This is not the first time the city has discussed a smoking ban.
"It's probably been a topic of conversation every two years for the past 6 to 8 years," Mayor Keith Summey said.
Summey thinks the discussion on a smoking ban is a drag.
"I just think government has intervened too much in private sector operations," said Summey who wants business owners to continue to have choices."I have a choice as a citizen, if I go into a restaurant that allows smoking or not."
"Our customers seem to be very pleased with the arrangement," said restaurant owner Michael Varner.
Varner wanted a family friendly sports bar and also a place for smokers to blow off some steam.
"We have smokers that come and feel at home on the patio," Varner said.
Varner says if a smoking ban is passed, it won't hurt his business model. But he's seen how it may have second hand effects on other workplaces.
He watched a smoking ban snub out business in the upstate on the streets of Spartanburg.
"What happened is all the smokers were bunched up at their front door and then cigarette butts are littered all over the sidewalk," Varner said."I'm not sure that worked out well for the restaurants, or their patrons, or the city."
However this year, with momentum from a recent smoking ban in Summerville and three new faces on city council, Summey says the smoking ban discussion can go either way.
"As the mayor of the City of North Charleston, if 50 percent of council plus one votes to have a ban, then I will work to enforce it," Summey said.
Thursday's meeting is just a committee meeting. Members will talk about a possible ban and could decide to bring the issue to the full council.