Council OKs Durango’s smoking ban

Law would go into effect on Dec. 5

The Durango City Council on Tuesday gave final approval to a ban on smoking in most public places, including the Animas River Trail. Enlargephoto

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald file photo

The Durango City Council on Tuesday gave final approval to a ban on smoking in most public places, including the Animas River Trail.

Durango City Council on Tuesday adopted a ban on smoking in public areas such as city parks, bus stops, picnic pavilions and the Animas River Trail.

The ban would go into effect on Dec. 5 after the law is advertised Sunday in The Durango Herald.

The vote was 3-1 with Councilor Paul Broderick in opposition and Mayor Doug Lyon absent.

Broderick said the ordinance was excessive for applying to all city property and of “marginal benefit” because he doubted whether the effect of secondhand smoke was very harmful outdoors.

In response to Broderick, Councilor Christina Rinderle argued that the main purpose of the ordinance was to set a “good example for children.”

Councilor Sweetie Marbury also approved of the ordinance because she said she is tired of pulling out cigarette butts from the mulch at Brookside Park where her grandson plays.

Councilor Dick White said he has received many emails from parents in support of the ban.

White said he also was convinced by studies showing that communities that “have raised the bar” against smoking have shown decreases in tobacco use.

The San Juan Basin Health Department and anti-tobacco groups had lobbied for the ban.

The city plans to post signs in public areas to publicize the ban.

Smoking exceptions will be made for Hillcrest Golf Course and Native American groups performing religious ceremonies in public spaces.

Smokers could be fined $100 for a first offense and $200 to $300 for consecutive offenses in the same calendar year.

Proceeds would go to pay for anti-tobacco and smoking-cessation efforts.

jhaug@durangoherald.com