Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, who announced his resignation from council in February, wants to curb e-cigarette smoking for minors and ban smoking in bars before he heads off to school this summer.
Burns, who has represented the area since 2008, plans to obtain a Mid-Career Master in Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts. At Tuesday's pre-council meeting, staff presented various ways the city could regulate e-cigarettes and smoking, after Burns requested the report earlier this year.
The report found that since there are no federal or state regulations on e-cigs, the city can ban sales to adults and/or minors and have a prohibition on their use in city facilities.
It found that Lewsiville, Murphy, Rockwall and Frisco all regulate the sale and/or possession of e-cigs by minors, while Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso do not.
The report also showed that Fort Worth is the only major city in Texas that does not prohibit smoking in bars.
"Can you tell me if the City of Houston allows smoking in bars?" Burns asked Christa Reynolds, senior assistant city attorney with Fort Worth at the meeting.
"No," she replied.
Burns coninuted, asking about Austin, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio.
"What is the only major city, the only large city in Texas, to allow smoking in bars?" he asked.
"Comprehensively, the City of Fort Worth," said Reynolds.
Councilman Sal Espino said he is concerned that the council has not had a consensus before on prohibiting smoking in bars.
"I'm going to defer to see what the council and the public want to do on that issue," Espino said about smoking in bars. "But at least on e-cigs, I do think there is consensus, at least with respect to the sell of minors that we need to look at."
Other council memberes expressed concern about the enforcement of additional city regulations with limited staff.
-- Caty Hirst