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Arlington Postpones Smoking Ban Decision

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - The City of Arlington has tabled a proposal to ban smoking in billiard parlors and city parks, while restricting smoking at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The proposal has raised dire concerns among pool hall operators and employers.

“We’d be out of business,” said Ashley Fields, a bartender at Rack Daddy’s Billiard Parlor in Arlington.

At Rack Daddy’s, it would seem almost impossible to have a pool table without an ashtray nearby. But an Arlington proposal would ban smoking at pool halls. Workers here say if they lose the right to smoke they’ll lose their customers.

“They smoke,” Fields said. “They want to hang out where they can smoke and have a beer and have a cigarette and hang out with their friends. And if one of them goes to another bar so they can smoke they’re all going to follow.”

In fact, Fields said most of their customers come because they can smoke there and not to play pool.

The Arlington proposal would also tighten restrictions on where people can smoke while in the ballpark. The Rangers have asked the city for the new regulations after season ticket holders complained and asked for more defined smoking areas. City planners say the restrictions would move smokers away from common areas and near club entrances and relegate them to clearly defined smoking areas. The proposal would also ban smoking in public parks.

While the ballpark and city park restrictions seem likely to pass, the threat of losing jobs at the billiards parlors is so real, the council member who suggested the ban on pool halls now says he’ll ask council to back off the idea.

“From what I gathered in the course of our public meetings there is some heartburn on changing what we currently have which is allowing smoking at billiard halls,” said Council Member Robert Rivera. So I’m good with where we are currently on the issue.

Rebecca Rodriguez, spokesperson for the City of Arlington said the issue is now scheduled for the October 30th council meeting.

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