Sep 302003
Authors: Christiana Nelson

Karen Johnson, a junior sociology major, is a non-smoker who

says she may not know all of the statistics, but she has

experienced second-hand smoke exposure.

“It makes me nervous to go out in public and constantly be

around people who are smoking,” Johnson said. “I believe that it

affects everyone even though that is not the intention of the


Mayor Ray Martinez agreed that second-hand smoke has many

negative health effects and said that the new ordinance was a

direct result of health concerns.

“When people are in public they shouldn’t have to be exposed to

smoke,” Martinez said. “You represent the community and try to act

in the best interest of their health and safety – they are not

always compatible, but in this interest there was a lot of medical

research that showed second-hand smoke to be a hazard.”

Although second-hand smoke can be harmful to anyone, children

are especially susceptible to the effects of second-hand smoke. An

estimated 280 children die from second-hand smoke-induced lower

respiratory tract illnesses each year, according to the CTEPA.

“Smoking in front of a child is abuse,” said Dr. William A.

Lanting, a partner at the Northern Colorado Allergy and Asthma

Clinic. “If the child has asthma it makes it even worse.”

Smoker Ben Snyder, a graduate civil engineering student, agreed

the public smoking ban will have positive effects.

“I think it’s great. It will be nice to come home from the bars

and not reek of cigarette smoke,” Snyder said.

Cindy Weindling, the executive vice president for the Colorado

Restaurant Association, said the negative side of the ordinance has

nothing to do with smoke exposure.

“We’re not in support of smoking or not smoking, but we believe

that it is the right of business owners to make decisions about

what goes on in their business,” Weindling said.

Yet, Chris Devault, a senior economics major and the student

coordinator in charge of CSU’s tobacco grant for tobacco use

prevention programs, provided by tobacco industry settlements, said

that one of the main reasons for implementing the ordinance is many

restaurant and bar employees do not have an alternative to

second-hand smoke exposure.

“The bars will be more enjoyable and safer to work in,” Devault

said. “Any exposure is damaging, but if you are on an 8-hour shift

and exposed to second-hand smoke, you’re smoking the equivalent of

one and a half to two packs of cigarettes.”

Health and safety concerns led Heather Bisetti, the owner of

Bisetti’s Italian Restaurant, to create a smoke-free dining

atmosphere about 10 years ago. The change did not impact


“There were some regulars who smoked that I don’t think

returned, but I think they were replaced with people who didn’t

want to be around smoke,” Bisetti said.

In addition to health benefits, Devault believes that the new

ordinance may provide an opportunity to reduce the number of future


“Most people that smoke at bars are casual smokers,” Devault

said. “(The ordinance) will reduce exposure and less and less

people will be introduced to smoking.”

CSU’s Nelson believes that the ordinance is necessary and will

provide a positive change for Fort Collins.

“I enjoy going to places that are smoke-free,” Nelson said.

“Smoking is hurting the rights of people who don’t smoke and it is

affecting people’s health. That’s the bottom line.”





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