Lexington lightens up on lighting up

Lexington Town Council votes 5-2 in favor of changing the smoking ban.

The Town of Lexington has had a smoking ban in place since October 2008.

Lexington County enacted their own ban 14 months later with a few changes.

The difference between the two, residents can smoke and be served outside of restaurants and bars outside of the town limits.

On Monday, Lexington Town Council took a vote on a move that could level the playing field for businesses.

Restaurants and bars in Lexington TMs town limits have adjusted to the almost two-year-old smoking ban.

I realize there is a lot of non-smokers that don TMt want to be affected by the smoke, said general manager Ronnie Gasque of Carolina Wings and Rib House.

Gasque thinks business could be better, especially if they could serve customers who still want to light up outside.

Hopefully, it would increase business, said Gasque.

Gasque says if the smoking ban changes, so will Carolina Wings. Gasque is considering adding an outside patio to serve smokers.

With this change, it will almost make us equal to the county, said Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre.

Lexington Town Council talked about the issue Monday, but not everyone shares Mayor Randy Halfacre TMs enthusiasm for leveling the playing field.

We enjoy this time of year when the temperatures are reasonable, and you can sit out on patios and dine, but if smoking is allowed, I will not be sitting out there, said Keith Frost of Lexington.

Council members voted five-to-two in favor of allowing smoking and service outside.

There will be a public hearing on the smoking issue at the next Lexington Town Council meeting, and the amendment faces a second vote.

Changes to the smoking ban could happen by the end of the month.