Eagle County’s new smoking ordinance will include restrictions on vaping

County is updating smoking regulations to match the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act

Eagle County is updating its smoking ordinance to include new state regulations that increase the legal penalty for infraction and expand smoking restrictions to include vaping and electronic smoking devices.

This week, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners began the process of adopting Ordinance No. 2022-01, which will repeal the two existing ordinances (No. 92-01 and No. 06-01) and replace them with regulations that are in line with the recently updated Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.

The ordinances that are currently effective in Eagle County are based on the original Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which was adopted in 2006.

“At the time those ordinances were enacted they were very progressive and they’ve done a great deal to reduce the risk of secondhand smoke to residents throughout Eagle County,” said Matt Peterson, the assistant county attorney.

The 2006 regulations apply only to secondhand tobacco smoke. The act has since been expanded to include secondhand marijuana smoke (2013) and most recently to include secondhand vapor from electronic smoking devices (2019).

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The summary of the latest Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act refers to emerging data about the health impacts of vaping as a cause for strengthening this regulation.

“In 2016, a U.S. Surgeon General report concluded that the vapor released from electronic smoking devices contains nicotine and other chemicals, and secondhand inhalation may cause harm to the lungs or produce an allergic reaction,” the law reads.

Most of the standards in the new act are similar to those in the existing ordinances, and prohibits smoking tobacco, marijuana or using electronic smoking devices in most indoor areas throughout the state, or in entryways. In 2019, the smoke-free radius was increased from at least 15 feet to at least 25 feet from the entryway.

The legal penalty for violation of the smoking ban has also been raised from a civil infraction to a class 2 petty offense, punishable by a fine that is no more than $200 for the first violation within a calendar year. A second violation within a calendar year is punishable by a fine of up to $300, and each additional violation beyond the second offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

With the go-ahead from the commissioners, the county will be publishing the full text of the new ordinance for review by the public, and will hold a public hearing for the adoption of Ordinance No. 2022-01, which is  planned for Aug. 16. On that same day, after hearing public comment, the commissioners will decide whether to proceed with adoption of the ordinance.

“We want to be sure that the public, in reading the title that we will be repealing ours, that they don’t jump to the conclusion that you’re allowed to smoke anywhere you want now,” said Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney. “This is really just to get in line with the change in penalties, and people should continue to practice their smoking habits where they’re currently allowed to, which is basically in your house or your car.”

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