• Taking A Smoke Break In Boulder Is About To Get Even Harder

    Finding a place for an outdoor smoke break is about to get harder in Boulder, Colo., where public, outdoor smoking is already banned on a popular pedestrian mall and around city buildings.

    The ban’s envelope is about to be extended to encompass the property of a local high school, a corner of the University of Colorado-Boulder, and even some residential neighborhoods, creating a smoke-free outdoor zone encompassing several square blocks in the heart of the city.

    City Council members signaled that they’re not done trying to stamp out public, outdoor smoking — at a meeting Tuesday night, George Karakehian warned businesses and residents of the student-heavy University Hill area that “it’s coming” to their neighborhood as well.

    The ban prohibits smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes in alleys behind businesses, within 25 feet of a bus stop, on all walking and hiking paths through city parks (and within 15 feet of those paths) and on all city-owned open space, according to the Daily Camera.

    The council even considered banning chewing tobacco in the no-smoking zone, but ultimately agreed to consider a later resolution banning spitting.

    The city originally weighed the idea of allowing smoking in alleys, especially behind live-music venues where visiting artists often take smoke breaks before and after shows. But the idea was nixed in favor of applying the rule to everyone, the Camera reported.

    “If we care about health, we care about everyone’s health,” councilwoman Suzanne Jones is quoted as saying.

    The ban also applies to indoor smoking for people who rent or lease historic farmhouses on city property.

    “If you have ever been inside a house where a person smoked heavily, it ruins the house,” the Camera reported councilwoman Lisa Morzel as saying.

    Boulder has been on something of a law-and-order kick in recent months. The city recently raised formerly petty offenses like drinking alcohol from an open container and peeing in the bushes to jailable offenses. The effort meant to reduce the nuisances of a group of homeless who gathered in city parks near municipal buildings. The penalties were raised in lieu of “banishing” them from city limits, as was the suggestion of one city council member. (RELATED: Colorado City Considers ‘Banishing’ People Who Make Trouble)

    The smoking ban will likely be extended to the popular University Hill area — home to student friendly restaurants, shops and clubs — in the future. The area was excluded from the current expansion, the Camera reported, because a pending redevelopment is already going to disruptive and council didn’t want to overburden local businesses.

    Violating the ordinance would be a municipal infraction that normally costs about $100, but fines can range as high as $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail for repeat offenders.

    Council will officially vote on the proposal later this fall and, if adopted, it would go into effect next March.

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