Tobacco Free Policy Will Go Into Effect Despite Lack Of SF Mayor Signature

The Mayor chose not to sign the ordinance because it wasn't strict enough

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether has decided to go against what city council approved last week.

“I hate smoking, because it killed my dad,” says Huether during a press conference, where he made it clear how he feels about tobacco use.

“It’s going to kill your dad; it’s going to kill your brother and your grandma.”

This is why he says he will not be supporting an amended tobacco free policy.

“A toned back ordinance is not good enough,” says Huether.

But that’s what council members decided to pass last Tuesday.

So instead of banning smoking and chewing tobacco on all city property, which includes city golf courses, parks and buildings, tobacco will only be banned from city playgrounds and where youth recreation activities take place.

“I wish this new ordinance that is aimed at protecting youth and youth activities extended these protections to people of all ages,” says Huether. “It’s not just youth that are impacted by the devastating effects of tobacco.”

It was council member Christine Erickson that introduced the less strict version.

“It’s important to find the common ground and make an incremental step as opposed to a big broad brush,” says Erickson.

Many councilors like Erickson fear the original ordinance would be a case of government going too far.

“At the end of the day we need to make sure to respect those that choose to smoke a completely legal product,” says Erickson.

But Mayor Huether says as long as it would make a positive impact, “I think it’s well worth the fight.”

Erickson disagrees with the Mayors decision not to sign the ordinance.

She says she wants to continue the conversation, and wants to be able to do that as a team.

“It is better than nothing,” says Erickson. “We’ve never had anything in ordinance, so I just felt signing it would get that ball rolling.”

The City’s Health Department spear headed this ordinance.

While it wasn’t passed in its entirety, the Public Health Prevention Coordinator says any version of a tobacco free policy is a win.

Even though the Mayor did not sign the amended ordinance it will still go into effect on Jan. 6.

Last Tuesday councilors voted 6 to 2 to pass it.

Council members Michelle Erpenbach and Rick Kiley were the two against the amendment.

Like the Mayor, they wanted to pass a tobacco free policy on all city property.

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