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Wednesday, 13 August 2008 02:09

Smoking Ban in Jackson?

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slide6.pngThe City of Jackson is giving serious consideration to a partial smoking ban in the downtown area. Monday night, council members revisited the issue, which originated from complaints from members of the public about dealing with secondhand smoke and cigarette litter while shopping on Jackson’s historic Main Street. Since the last city council meeting, city staff have been researching options for implementing the smoking restriction, including contacting the Tobacco Reduction of Amador County, or TRAC. Through that organization, the city received a report from the American Lung Association, and learned that the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, categorizes secondhand smoke “as a known human carcinogen,” comparing it to dangerous substances such as radon, benzene, and asbestos. City staff researched the smoking ordinances of several other cities, many of which include a ban on smoking within 20 feet of an open doorway, window, or air intake – the same rule that is now in force in all government buildings.

Instead of implementing a total ban on Main Street, the council unanimously agreed that providing smokers with designated areas would be the best course of action. Council member Al Nunes jokingly commented that if the city implemented a total smoking ban, “there would be some people that would be having a nicotine fit.” In addition, council members mentioned the sometimes-large number of patrons smoking outside the three bars that make Main Street their home. Vice Mayor Connie Gonsalves suggested “working with the business owners” to steer their patrons towards designated smoking areas. Many citizens in attendance provided suggestions on where the designated smoking areas could be located, including the small parking areas just off Main Street, and several, but not all, of the benches. Shelly Scott, who is on the Economic Development Committee, suggested a fine for those who violated the ordinance, with half going to the city, and half to the upcoming Revitalization Committee. One Main Street store clerk laughed at the entire idea, saying, “What are they going to do? Give smoking tickets to tourists?” For now, the council wants to make a “well-thought-out” decision and will be bringing the matter to the downtown merchants before formulating an ordinance.

Read 1351 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 01:55