Apr 282004
 
Authors: Michelle Stevens

“Smoking Nazi” or “Smoking Cop” would most likely be names you

would hear me called. I have been chosen as the team leader to

enforce the smoking ordinance, which went into effect October 1,

2003. Since then I have helped citizens who go out to Fort Collins

bars, restaurants and other public places to have a healthier, more

enjoyable experience.

Every time I go out on patrol, I meet colorful people who voice

their concerns and/or appreciation for the smoke-free change in

Fort Collins. Regardless of how you view the smoking ordinance, the

overall feedback from the citizens has been great!

Part of the success is because of the educational outreach that

community members, organizations and the city have done leading up

to the implementation of the ordinance. The success is shown in the

number of smoking violations. Only two tickets have been issued to

businesses for smoking violations, both of which were because of

smoke seeping into smoke-free areas. Each problem has been

addressed and the establishments are currently working to improve

the situation.

I am impressed with how the business owners are willing to work

with me. Another real cause for excitement is that there have been

no tickets issued to a smoker! This has shown me the true level of

pride that people have for their businesses and the community.

However, there are still some problems associated with the

smoking ordinance.

The main problem that I deal with is people smoking outside of a

public place within a 20-foot perimeter of doors, operable windows

and ventilation systems.

This causes smoke to enter the public place and forces the

people entering and exiting to inhale smoke. The increase in the

number of people smoking outside has also resulted in a

cigarette-littering problem on the streets and sidewalks. I detest

the litter just as much as everyone else, however, the only way the

problem will be alleviated is with the cooperation of business

owners and smokers. By working together, we can nip this unsightly

problem in the butt … no pun intended!

In March, City Council made a few additions to the smoking

ordinance for private clubs. The first change pertains to separate

ventilation systems, which now must be approved by the director of

the Building and Zoning Department and prevent smoke from entering

smoke-free areas. The second change now requires establishments

that choose to become a private club to obtain a private-club

license.

I hope to see citizens and business owners continue to comply

with the ordinance, and I applaud the efforts they have made to

preserve a healthy quality of life in Fort Collins.

Michelle Stevens is a code compliance inspector. Reach her at

mstevens@fcgov.com or at 416-2598.

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