A city law approved Monday makes Morehead Kentucky’s sixth community to go smoke-free.

In a 5-1 vote, the Morehead City Council passed the second reading of an ordinance that bans smoking in all public buildings and places of employment within the city. It will take effect Aug. 1.

Debate in recent months has centered on health versus freedom of choice, Morehead Mayor Brad Collins told Morehead State Public Radio on Tuesday.

But, the big issue became cleaner air because it is proven that second-hand smoke causes health problems, said Collins, who had vowed to vote in favor of the ban in case of a tie.

The mayor thanked both those who spoke for and against the measure, calling the debate and ensuing ordinance important to the community.

The effort to make Morehead smoke-free has been in the works for several years, but May was the first time an ordinance had been considered.

Local health officials and the Rowan County Clean Indoor Air Initiative spearheaded the effort. In Morehead, as in Ashland, smoke-free activists worked to collect information through public opinion polls, conducted education campaigns and had a public forum in the march up to the ordinance.

At one time, language to enact a ban and let businesses make the smoke-free choice themselves was considered. But, the full council did not finalize it.

Council members who are business owners have said they favored the smoking ban for health reasons.

Councilman Bruce Adkins, who cast the lone dissenting vote, has said it shouldn’t be left up to the government to tell a business owner how to run a business.

In Ashland, members of the Greater Ashland Smoke-free Policy Initiative have been watching the Morehead measure. Organizers have said they hope to implement a smoke-free ordinance in Ashland before winter.

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