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.”