We’ve all been to Exchange Avenue, home of the twice-daily cattle drive in the Stockyards.
It is a go-to Fort Worth spot, for a visit to Billy Bob’s or to take visitors to shop and see those proud steers parade down the street.
It’s iconic. So is our Sundance Square district in downtown Fort Worth, just a few minutes up the road from the Stockyards.
It’s a place where you might find people smoking, and that can be a turnoff to tourists and residents.
On Tuesday, city leaders indicated they will work to prohibit smoking in bars, private clubs and bingo parlors in Fort Worth (smoking will still be allowed at stores whose primary business is to sell tobacco products — like Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge in Sundance Square).
The ordinance must be drafted and brought to the council. A public hearing will be held, and then it will be placed on the agenda for a vote.
Star-Telegram reporter Sandra Baker reported this week that the council supports the changes. We are heartened by the potential for progress in Fort Worth, which will be one of the last cities in Tarrant County to go smoke-free.
And at the same time, we encourage anyone who spends time in our city’s public spaces to press leadership to take the ban even further.
Fort Worth should not stop at bars, private clubs and bingo parlors.
We can strike a balance between prohibiting smoking in our iconic public spaces and allowing those who desire to do so a place nearby. Downtown Fort Worth is large enough for smokers and nonsmokers alike.
We all know the effects of smoking, including second-hand smoke, can be detrimental to our health.
Among 44 U.S. states, Texas ranks No. 14 in cigarette smoking, says a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Smoking and Tobacco Use study.
Additionally, Texas ranked No. 23 for youth smoking.
Lung cancer in Texas accounted for about 24 percent of all cancer deaths in 2016. Cigarette smoking is the leading risk factor for lung cancer.
With that, the proposed ban makes sense.
So do additional steps.
Most Fort Worthians love the opportunity to be outside, exploring all that the city has to offer.
We know too much about the effects of smoking not to consider directing it away from popular public places where families and others gather.
Let’s ask the city to consider taking this next important step.