Businesses, Smoke-Free OP attempt compromise

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

Business leaders and members of Smoke-Free Oak Park held a meeting Monday morning to see if they could find a common ground solution to an issue that has bitterly divided the health and business communities.

As of press time, the Oak Park Health Board was set to hold a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal to ban smoking at all in-door workplaces.

Smoke-Free Oak Park member David Ansell said the meeting with businesses was "cordial," but that they ultimately "agreed to disagree, and not be disagreeable about it."

"What's driving us is good public health data. There is no published peer-reviewed data that smoking bans hurt the economy," he said. "But we're dealing with a very anxious business community."

Ansell said his organization is unwilling to accept anything other than a full ban on smoking, but is open to looking at ways to "phase in" a ban.

Meanwhile, businesses say they are unwilling to accept a full ban, no matter how it's phased in.

"It didn't seem like we made any progress," said Donna Ogdon Chen, director of Downtown Oak Park. "Those in favor of the ban are completely tuned in to the health issue. They're not willing to seriously look at the economic impact."

"It's still a smoking ban, no matter what day of the week it is," she added, on the subject of phasing. "We're interested in looking more at financial incentives to improve ventilation systems and education."

Ogdon Chen said she believes someday restaurants may all be smoke free, but "we'll let the market dictate what happens."

Both parties are still open to having further conversations, though positions on both sides remain far apart.

?#34;Katharine Grayson

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect