TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The City Council said a proposal to widen the smoking ban at public places in Twin Falls needs more public input.

“It’s imperative that we get more public input,” Councilman Chris Talkington during a discussion at the council meeting on Monday. “This is a serious debate, if you will, between private property owners and public health.”

The proposal, presented by Luke Cavener with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, aims to ban tobacco smoking at all businesses and public places.

Smoking currently is prohibited at indoor public venues with few exceptions. Among other things, the proposal would widen the ban to include outdoor public places.

Council members concluded, however, that there has not been enough public input for them to make an informed decision, even though the topic has been discussed at public meetings, including the library.

Mayor Shawn Barigar said the item also was not listed as an ordinance on the agenda for a first reading.

Cavener said his group was not trying to draft an ordinance for the city but provide scientific data about the public health dangers of smoking in public places.

The council decided unanimously to allow the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to come up with a way to garner more public input about the proposal.

Councilman Christopher Reid said public input is “key” to making an informed decision. “We need feedback,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re doing what our citizens want.”

The mayor said more input is better than not enough, but in the end “we get what we get” and the council will eventually have to make a decision based on the input it receives.

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