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Silverthorne passes smoking ban

Christine McManus

With no opposition, Silverthorne has become the fourth and final town in Summit County to pass a smoking ban.

Beginning June 1, smoking will be banned in enclosed public places including bars and restaurants in Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and in unincorporated areas of Summit County.

Throughout the county, “public place” will be defined as anywhere the public is permitted or invited. For example, a walk-in insurance office will be subject to the ban.

The Silverthorne Town Council voted unanimously for the ban at a town council meeting Wednesday night. “Many of us have the luxury of working in a smoke-free environment, but that’s not the case right now (without the ban) for restaurant and bar employees,” said Councilmember Sheila Groneman.

The town waited until the county and other nearby towns wrestled with, and settled, the controversial issue. Restaurant and bar owners have been concerned their customer base will dwindle.

The only public comments at a recent council meeting where the final decision was made came from Laurie Blackwell, the tobacco prevention coordinator for the Summit Prevention Alliance.

“The number of people quitting is already going way up, since people know the smoking bans are coming this summer,” Blackwell said. “I think it’s great that the youth of our community are getting the message that adults think, ‘this is unhealthy.'”

Smokers in Summit County will still be able to smoke in their homes, in hotel rooms, outdoors, in tobacco shops, in home-based child-care centers after hours and at private clubs.

“The smoking ban debate has been characterized as a public health versus private rights issue. The public health benefits of this ban outweigh the private rights,” said Councilmember Howard Hallman. “When you open a business to the public, you take on added responsibilities.”

Educating businesses about the ban is the next step for the Summit Prevention Alliance and SmokeFree Summit advocates. Blackwell plans to sit down with mayors, county commissioners and town and county managers and attorneys. She will try to order free, standardized “no smoking” signs that comply with the ban for businesses.

Blackwell suggested businesses contact their town officials to learn the exact details of the bans.

Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and Summit County passed similar smoking bans earlier this year. All will go into effect June 1. Fines for businesses or smokers who disobey the ban will be $100 the first violation, $200 the second time and $500 the third and subsequent violations.

Voters across Summit County, by a margin of two-to-one, passed a measure in November asking county commissioners to draft and enact a smoking ban.


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