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Wheeling City Council votes for economic impact study on completely smoke-free ban

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It's an on-going debate in the city of Wheeling -- The Clean Air Act.

Health department officials are discussing whether or not to make the Friendly City completely smoke-free, but city leaders say they'd like to know more.

City council has adopted a resolution to encourage the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department to do an economic impact study and to consider the economic impact of becoming completely smoke free.

Last year, the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department expanded the smoking ban, but two exemptions still remained – Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and in in other establishments’ designated video lottery rooms.

“…So the board is to go back and review to see if they need to remove the exemptions and make the county completely smoke free," said Howard Gamble, health department administrator.

On April 11, the board will meet again, only to discuss the smoking ban. Council’s vote for an economic study passed, 6-1. Wendy Scatterday voted against it, citing second-hand smoke health issues.

However, the study will see how furthering the ban -- making the city completely smoke free-- could affect business.

“We are asking the (health department) before they impact the city with furthering the smoke ban, let's study it and see what could happen to monies that come into the casino and bars and taverns that have (video lottery machines),” Councilman Dave Palmer said. “What kind of impact will that have on small business?”

Palmer says the ban in Hancock County has had a negative effect on the county, and he says they're considering changing it.

"It's hurting programs there, and before it negatively affects our police, fire pension funds or paving your street, we are asking them do a study on this," Palmer said.

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