Social Media Campaign Launched For ‘Smoke Free Fayetteville’

It’s been a few years, but it appears as though another debate on whether to ban smoking in bars and nightclubs could soon be raging again in Fayetteville.

A survey polling Fayetteville residents about the issue began circulating online earlier this year, followed recently by new social media accounts for a group called Smoke Free Fayetteville on Facebook and Twitter.

According to the newly-created Facebook page, the group is “a coalition of community organizations and advocates that strive to make all workplaces in Fayetteville, Arkansas smoke-free.”

Matt Henry, of the American Heart Association, is listed as a contact person on the page, but said he nor the American Heart Association is necessarily leading the charge for Smoke Free Fayetteville.

“The American Heart Association wants to see comprehensive smoke free ordinances in all of our cities, including Fayetteville,” Henry said in a statement. “Everyone has the right to breath clean air indoors, and we’re going to support SmokeFree Fayetteville in any way possible to make that a reality for the citizens of Fayetteville.”

Volunteers with the organization were at last weekend’s Heart Walk, held Saturday, April 11 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, handing out flyers and asking attendees how they feel about smoking in bars.

The issue was last discussed in Fayetteville in 2011, when Ward 1 Alderwoman Adella Gray sponsored a proposal to ban smoking in all bars and nightclubs as a way to protect bar employees and patrons from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

After months of debate on the issue, the measure failed by a single vote, with five council members in favor the ban, and three against (six votes were needed to enact the ordinance).

Both Gray and Alderman Matthew Petty were in support of the measure, while Mark Kinion and Justin Tennant voted against the proposal. Aldermen John La Tour, Alan Long, Sarah Marsh, and Martin Schoppmeyer were not on the City Council when the issue was last discussed.

Gray said she has considered bringing the issue back to the Council, but was not sure when that might happen.

“I remain committed to seeing Fayetteville become a comprehensive smoke-free city,” Gray said. “This is an issue I’m constantly discussing with my constituents. I have no timeline right now for bringing this before the Council again.”