Smoke-free Hannibal?


Updated at 9:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011

Hannibal's proposed city wide smoking ban got a first reading Tuesday night.

Our news partner WTAD reports that it passed on a 5 to 2 vote after about 30 minutes of discussion.

Council member Dr. Richard Draper talked about the dangers of second hand smoke and listed about 2 dozen sources to support that research.

Councilman Kevin Knickerbocker opposed the city placing the issue on the ballot.

He instead would like to see it come to the ballot through a petition.

The issue will come up for a second reading December 6th.


It's becoming more common than not to see smoke-free communities.

Smoke-free states across the nation prohibit smoking in nearly all public places and workplaces.

While Illinois and Iowa are already smoke-free states, Missouri has not adopted such a law.

Currently there are locations in Hannibal, Mo. that ban smoking on their own premises, but the decision could be made for them soon. Smokers in Hannibal may soon have to take it outside.

A new proposal by a city council member and physician is asking residents to vote for a smoke-free city.

"People are passionate about this, there's nobody in between," said Dr. Richard Draper.

Dr. Draper with the Hannibal Regional Medical Group says it should be a city-wide agreement.

"I'll be proposing an ordinance to be put on the ballot for a smoke-free Hannibal, that would not allow smoking in places of business like restaurants," said Draper.

Outdoor spaces would not be included in his proposal.

"Why now? Because I made this a major plank in my platform when I ran for city council. Being a physician, it would be difficult not to support something like this," said Draper.

On the other hand, we found smokers who aren't happy about the proposal.

"That is absolutely ridiculous. They're trying to save me from myself and that's not going to work. Of course, they're probably thinking about others who don't smoke," said Tim Murphy.

Murphy's smoked all his life. He says this proposal will only go so far to help the public.

"What's the percentage of smokers that don't smoke now because you can't smoke in a restaurant? I still go to restaurants and I don't quit. They're just making a big deal out of it," said Murphy.

"There have been nine or ten communities in the state of Missouri that have gone this way. It seems to be the trend. It's the right thing to do," said Draper.

Tuesday, members of city council will decide whether or not to put it on the April ballot.

"Citizens can make up their own minds. We won't make the decision for them, but I think they deserve the right to decide where they're going to go with this," said Draper.

If the city council passes Richard Draper's proposal, a municipal election will be held Tuesday April 3, 2012 giving Hannibal voters the power to accept or reject the smoke-free bill.

Do you support smoke-free? Are you a smoker facing frustration? We want to hear from you ... visit our Facebook page here and tell us what you think.