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New ordinance bans smoking and e-cig use in Old Town

Senior psychology major, Jeff Cox takes a puff on his e-cigarette between classes under the Clark Building at Colorado State University. (Photo credit: Zane Watson)
Senior psychology major, Jeff Cox takes a puff on his e-cigarette between classes under the Clark Building at Colorado State University. (Photo credit: Zane Watson)

An ordinance passed by Fort Collins City Council Tuesday, with a 6-1 vote, will ban smoking and electronic cigarette use in Old Town, city-run special events and natural areas.

Earliest implementation of the ordinance is planned for Sept. 12, 2015, to include all natural areas, parks and trails. The ban for city-approved special events, city-owned property and the dismount zone in Old Town is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

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The proposal was based on community surveys regarding public smoking concerns, according to Delynn Coldiron and Laurie Kadrich, presenters to City Council.

According to Kadrich, the new regulations had majority support from the community to include designated smoking areas, which were not included in the decision.

“Fort Collins has become a leader in smoking ordinances and is known as a healthy community,” Coldiron said on the issue of disregarding designated smoking areas.

Mayor Karen Weitkunat was the lone dissenter on the 6-1 vote.

“I have concerns with the other population [of] smokers which particularly extends to visitors of the city,” Weitkunat said.

Weitkunat said she also opposed the recent adoption of smoke free hotel and motel rooms, which took effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Other citizen concerns brought up during the council meeting included personal freedoms, children and overall community health.

Anuhea Sutherland, a CSU sophomore zoology major, said she was also concerned with the health issues of public smoking and was in favor of the ordinance.

“I don’t like cigarettes and don’t smoke,” Sutherland said. “I think it’s a good thing.”

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Councilmember Gino Campana said although he supports the ban, he has concerns on public education of the new ordinance and said the relay of information is a top priority.

“We really need to have a robust education program around this,” Campana said. “Without it, it will put an unfair burden on business owners and citizens.”

According to Campana, working with law enforcement will be necessary in implementing these new ordinances.

Other plans for supporting ban outreach are social media campaigns, paid ads, partnerships with youth in the community and other organizations.

The city will work to put signs up in Old Town to help the public prepare for the change. The Larimer County Health Department has offered approximately $2,500 toward the cost of the signs and between $3,000 and $5,000 for other advertising expenses.

Renovations on Old Town are expected to be finished by August 2015, providing the rest of the year to educate the public, according to Coldiron.

Collegian Green Beat Reporter Zane Watson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @zanerwatson.

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    d13spartanAug 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    They do realize it’s water vapor….right?

    Reply