“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
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
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
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416-2598.