County plans to pass smoking ban Tuesday
EAGLE – Get ready to take it outside.The Eagle County Commissioners will probably pass a comprehensive smoking ban Tuesday. The ban will apply to areas including Beaver Creek, Edwards, Eagle-Vail and El Jebel.The ban is a tight one, and applies both indoors and outdoors, and restricting smoking to 25 feet or more from doorways and outdoor restaurant and bar tables. It also bans smoking in lift ticket and lift lines, chairlifts and gondolas.
The drive for the ban came first from the commissioners, then from voters. The commissioners last year put a question on the fall ballot essentially asking voters for permission to pass a smoking ban. Voters said yes in a big way, with the question passing with more than 72 percent of the vote.Most of the smoking ban language has been hammered out. But one fairly big issue remains up for debate: the number of non-smoking rooms hotels will be required to have. The law now calls for 70 percent of all hotels rooms to be non-smoking, but Commissioner Tom Stone has lobbied for that number to rise to 90 percent.Whatever number is eventually attached to the ordinance won’t matter at several lodges in the county. For instance, the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera doesn’t allow indoor smoking. Neither does the Inn at Beaver Creek or the Pines Lodge.For guests who do light up at the Inn at Beaver Creek, the $100 fine in the county ordinance would pale next to the charge from the hotel.”The charge averages about $250,” said Inn at Beaver Creek Manager Aaron Beckman. “We have Steam Master come in, and they clean everything.”Guests at the Poste Montane in Beaver Creek can also be charged for smoking in their rooms, but only after a warning, said the hotel’s Karen Hoeger. The rooms at the Poste Montane are a little smaller than those at the Inn at Beaver Creek, so the average charge there is $100 or less.Guests sometimes ask about smoking rooms at the Inn at Beaver Creek, and are told flatly they must smoke outside, Beckman said. “Most guests are willing to do that,” he said.When passed – and the ordinance is a virtual lock to pass – the county smoking ban may be one of the toughest around. But will other towns follow suit? The Avon Town Council has a ban almost identical to the county’s on its Tuesday night agenda. That’s the only town with a smoking ban in the works right now.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14624, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado