Eagle County forming new no-smoking law | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County forming new no-smoking law

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent

EAGLE ” Voters last week asked the Eagle County commissioners to pass a no-smoking law. Now it’s time to hammer out details.

The commissioners Tuesday heard ideas from consultant Shelly Molz-Evans, who brought along a “model” of a no-smoking ordinance. A coalition of groups, including the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the Colorado chapter of the Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution, created that model.

That model law essentially bans smoking in all indoor public places and work areas. Molz-Evans also brought a “report card” of smoking legislation in the state, as graded by a group of anti-smoking organizations.

Grades on that report card range from “A-plus” in Greeley and Boulder County to “B-plus” in Summit County to an “F” for Montrose County. Places that earned lower grades have loopholes in the laws now on the books.

“It’s easier to implement a 100 percent smoke-free ordinance,” Molz-Evans said. “You won’t have to boost it later if you start with the best.”

All three commissioners said they want a strong law. But commissioners Tom Stone and Peter Runyon had some questions.

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Stone said he’d like to talk with local towns before passing a ban to see what sort of county law the towns could pass, too. Stone was also curious about outdoor smoking, especially as it applies to the Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, both of which are in unincorporated Eagle County.

Stone said he was thinking particularly about European skiers, who tend to smoke in greater numbers than American tourists.

“I would like to see the ability to have smoking areas with outdoor dining,” Stone said. But, he added, that might not be possible.

And, Runyon said, banning smoking in lift lines and on chairlifts “opens a huge can of worms.”

Steamboat Springs is about to find out what a lift-line smoking ban will look like, Molz-Evans said, since that town just enacted a law to do that.

Commissioner Arn Menconi said he’d like a ban that applies to places such as skateparks and the Eagle County Fairgrounds to keep smoking away from young people who attend events at those places.

The model ordinance also requires hotels to hold 80 percent of their rooms for nonsmoking guests. Runyon wondered if that was too much.

“It could be just as effective letting the hotels handle that part of it,” Runyon said.

Menconi suggested that Molz-Evans and county Health and Human Services Department Director Kathleen Forinash could call hotels and see how many nonsmoking rooms they have now.

Forinash, Molz-Evans and County Attorney Bryan Treu are expected to bring a proposed law to the commissioners at the Nov. 22 meeting.

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