Bismarck voters ban smoking in barsSmokers will no longer be able to light up in bars in Bismarck, and those who step outside for a puff will have to find their own shelter from the wind and cold.
By: Associated Press,
BISMARCK — Smokers will no longer be able to light up in bars in North Dakota's capital city, and those who step outside for a puff will have to find their own shelter from the wind and cold.
Bismarck residents voted Tuesday to ban smoking in bars and rejected the idea of allowing bars to build smoking huts for patrons who go outside.
Nearly 9,000 people voted, with unofficial returns showing 60 percent in favor of imposing an ordinance approved by the City Council last fall that bans smoking in bars, truck stops and tobacco stores. Opponents later gathered enough petition signatures to refer the matter to a public vote.
The vote on the smoking huts was much closer, with the measure being rejected by 51 percent of voters.
The ban is expected to take effect sometime next week, after the City Commission verifies the election results, City Administrator Bill Wocken told The Bismarck Tribune.
"We are truly excited. It was truly a grass-roots effort," said Kimberlee Schneider, spokeswoman for the Smoke Free Bismarck group and the American Lung Association in Bismarck.
Supporters of the bar workers who organized the referendum against the ban were disappointed.
"This is going to cost jobs, and cost revenue and charitable gaming," spokesman Keith Holzer said. "The citizens got their chance to vote. I hope all those people support those bars when they go smoke-free."