Ordinance proposed to further prohibit public smoking

Danny Bishop

Fort Collins City Council will meet Nov. 25 to discuss a new ordinance that would ban smoking downtown, at public events and in natural areas.

City Council members will meet for a work session on Nov. 25, where they will be presented with information about the proposed ordinance and have an opportunity to ask questions, according to Fort Collins Code Compliance Supervisor Polly Laurdisen. Council will vote on the ordinance Feb. 3.

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Mayor Pro Tem Gerry Horak, who will be involved with the work session and vote, said that past ordinances have required people to self enforce, like in the case of smoking inside, but this new ordinance would require more police involvement.

“Police have raised concerns about how to enforce the ordinance and the expectations of priority,” Horak said.

He said he does not know what priority this ordinance would take over other infractions and how it would be enforced, and that these are questions he wants to bring up during the work session.

Council members will have an opportunity to alter the ordinance as they see fit after the work session before voting in February, according to Laurdisen.

Laurdisen said the ordinance came from a public survey that gauged residents’ opinions about smoking in public, which revealed that downtown, public events and natural areas are the main areas of complaints from residents.

City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that banned electronic cigarette use in all places where traditional cigarettes are banned in July. This means if the new ordinance is approved, it will affect electronic cigarette users as well as traditional smokers.

Shane Stringer, owner of the electronic cigarette store Colorado Vapors, said he stays up to date on city ordinances, but never heard of the survey that led to this proposed ordinance.

“I wasn’t made aware of a survey,” Stringer said. “They definitely picked a demographic. It wasn’t made public at all.”

Stringer said the ordinance would not drastically affect electronic cigarette users, but it would further regulate electronic cigarette use, which he said is unfair.

“I am 100 percent anti-smoking because there are dangers with secondhand and third hand exposure,” Stringer said. “However, electronic cigarette vapor has no secondhand dangers. We don’t like being lumped in with smokers, but we will happily respect whatever City Council passes down.”

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Collegian City Beat Reporter Danny Bishop can be reached at news@collegian.com and on Twitter @DannyDBishop.