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Don’t cloud smoking bans

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

The Avon Town Council is wise to reconsider its overreaching smoking ban in public places.

The point of the ban was to get smoking out of confined spaces in places like bars, restaurants and other places where the public gathers.

A town ordinance that pushes smokers 25 feet away from buildings with restaurants and such did the trick. But so does the state ban, which passed after the town passed theirs. The state ban pushes the smokers out 15 feet from buildings where the public gathers.

Those extra 10 feet make a big difference in cost for enforcement and extra diligence for businesses with fines looming.

It makes practical sense for the Town Council to scale its ban to the state’s. That will ease ongoing confusion among visitors who smoke, and save police from time and costs better spent on more serious investigations than whether a smoker was 20 or 25 feet away from an entrance.

And a couple of eating and drinking establishments with decks would be able to accommodate patrons who like a cigarette with their beer.

Of course, there remain anti-smoking fanatics who ignore the higher hazards of auto emissions while hollering their heads off about no safe exposure to second-hand smoke, even outside in a breeze.

The Town Council doubtless will listen to the full range of citizen comment at their next meeting Tuesday. That is, if the citizens bother to show up, which always is a bit of a question.

The need for a law when society already has tilted in the direction of smoke-free environments is a question. But since these bans exist, the best thing to do is at least line them up so you don’t need a guidebook to know how far to walk before you can light up. Let’s at least be consistent.

” Don Rogers for the Editorial Board


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