Tobacco Education Center

Boulder Smoke-Free Law Working Fine (2002)

Flames From Smoking Ban Die Down
By Lindsay Stortz, Camera Staff Writer, January 17, 2002

As the issue of smoking in public places heats up once again, officials say bans already in place across the county are yielding few tickets and complaints. While smoking isn't allowed in Boulder restaurants and bars, it is banned from even restaurant patios in Superior. And Louisville has a task force considering a new smoking ordinance. Having met on and off for the last 14 months, the task force is working with Mayor Tom Davidson to come up with a recommendation to the City Council, said Meredyth Muth, community facilitator. "We have an ordinance in place," Muth said, "but we're considering changing it." The current ordinance, much like Longmont's, requires designated smoking sections for lighting up, Muth said.

If the smoke-free ordinance in Boulder serves as an example, it is the example of raging success, said Terry Steinborn, environmental enforcement officer. Only three tickets for smoking in a restaurant or bar were issued in Boulder in 2001. "We spend very little time on enforcement (of the smoke-free ordinance) anymore," Steinborn said. Even complaints have gone. There were 14 complaints in 2001, versus 28 in 2000 and 85 in 1999. Last year, officers cracked down on several local bars where "smokers knew they could light up and no one would say anything," Steinborn said. With regular patrol of the bars, Steinborn said, the problem is getting better, and no-smoking rules are now just part of the social structure in Boulder. The Sink, a bar and restaurant on University Hill, now has a patio where people can go to light up, said Tim Karns, general manager. "We will tell patrons (who are smoking) to go outside," Karns said. Another Boulder bar, the Sundown Saloon, built a separate smoking room with its own ventilation system in 1999, said manager Kevin Kauper. He said a large percentage of Sundown's clientele are smokers.

In Superior, much like Boulder, few tickets are issued to smokers, and there aren't a lot of complaints registered, said Sgt. Pat Haugse of the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. Superior voters passed a ban on smoking on restaurant patios by a substantial margin in November 2000. That ban came after two earlier amendments to the smoking ordinance, requiring restaurants to physically separate smoking and nonsmoking areas and providing separate ventilation systems for each area.

Reprinted by Permission of the Boulder Daily Camera

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