Cabell County smoking ban challenged
HUNTINGTON (AP) -- Four Huntington agencies and businesses are challenging Cabell County's new indoor smoking ban.
A circuit court complaint alleges the ban violates the plaintiffs' rights to use their property as they wish and does not adequately compensate them for that loss. It also alleges the Cabell-Huntington Board of Health did not have the power to enact the ban and will only selectively enforce it.
The complaint was filed Thursday by the Foundation for Independent Living, Mohawk Tribe 11 of the Improved Order of Red Men, and the owners of Adam's Avenue Floral and Blevins Roofing. They seek a preliminary injunction prohibiting the regulation's enforcement.
Mohawk Tribe 11 is a non-profit fraternal organization. The Foundation for Independent Living helps disabled people become self-sufficient. Both groups host bingo games as fund-raisers and are worried they may lose players to halls in Ohio, Kentucky or other West Virginia counties where smoking indoors is legal.
''It will basically put us out of business,'' said Anne Weeks, president and CEO of Foundation for Independent Living.
The owners of Adams Avenue Florist and Blevins Roofing said they have employees who smoke.
''It's taking our rights away,'' said Debora Whitley, vice president of Blevins Roofing. ''If they don't want us to smoke cigarettes, don't sell them. The next thing they are going tell us we can't smoke in our homes.
''We're in construction and we feel we should be able to smoke any time we want to. We smoke while we work. We don't take breaks.''
Wanda Dingess, owner of Adams Avenue Floral, is worried the ban will cut into worker productivity.
''Everyone will be standing outside all day,'' she said. ''I'll be the only one in here.''
The regulation, passed Dec. 12, is scheduled to take effect next Friday. It prohibits smoking in indoor and outdoor restaurants whose annual revenue totals more than 20 percent in food sales; tobacco retail stores; bingo halls; bowling alleys and places of employment, including common work areas, private offices and employee lounges.