Students get behind proposed smoking ban

Foster High Students Lindsey Witte and Andres Vidaurre want to clear up the air in Rosenberg.

January 25, 2011 3:57:58 PM PST
A group of local high school students is getting a lesson on city government as they fight to make a change in their community. They're leading an effort to make smokers in Rosenberg move outside of businesses before lighting up. At Foster High School near Rosenberg, 17-year-olds Lindsey Witte and Andres Vidaurre came up with an idea.

"I think the saying, 'Youth is no excuse' was our big push," said Lindsey. "Our age isn't gonna hold us back from what we really want to see done."

Late last year, they gathered nearly 600 signatures on a petition, mostly students, supporting the idea of a smoking ban in Rosenberg. And then the pair stood in front of the City Council and pitched the idea.

"We're not saying to ban smoking," said Andres. "You can still smoke in your home. I don't think you should endanger someone else's life just because you want to smoke."

So as a direct result of their persistence, on Tuesday night, the City Council was scheduled to consider such a ban. Mayor Joe Gureckey says the current ordinance was written long ago.

"It's old. It's outdated," he said. "It's 20 years old. 1991 is when it was written. It needs to be changed."

City leaders say currently it's up to each business whether to allow smoking. It is banned in public places like city parks and buildings. How extensive a greater smoking ban might is still unclear.

The city of Rosenberg will discuss changes to its existing smoking ordinance at Tuesday's meeting. They'll consider everything up to a citywide ban in businesses, all because of two teenagers who didn't let their age stop them from trying to make a difference.