Avon smoking ban stays strict | AspenTimes.com

Avon smoking ban stays strict

Matt Terrell
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

AVON, Colo. ” Avon will stand by its tough smoking ban, Town Council decided Tuesday.

About 24 business owners, managers, waiters and bartenders had recently signed a proposal asking Avon to end the smoking ban it enacted more than a year ago and adopt the more lenient Colorado State Law. The council revisited the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

Avon’s current law prohibits smoking within 25 feet of smoke-free public places, while the Colorado law prohibits smoking only within 15 feet of any public entrance.

If Avon went back to the Colorado standard, people would be able to smoke on restaurant patios if the seating is at least 15 feet from a main entrance of a building.

Randall Knipmeyer, manager at Finnegan’s Wake, told the council he’d like to see Avon adopt the state law. He told the council it costs money to hire extra doormen to enforce the law, that people leave the restaurant to smoke a cigarette, and smokers could just go to Vail, which has a less strict smoking ordinance.

Kent Beidel, owner of Loaded Joes, said he agreed with Knipmeyer’s points. He said the law was difficult to enforce, both in making sure that people don’t smoke on his deck and that customers don’t walk away with alcoholic drinks in hand to smoke a cigarette.

Many people from out of town don’t realize that Avon’s law is more strict, and those who do know are resistant because they enjoy smoking and drinking in a bar, he said.

If the law were changed to Colorado’s standard, he could make half of his deck smoking, Beidel said.

The council expressed concerns that patios would become smoking sections at restaurants, and nonsmokers would be kept inside.

Councilman Brian Sipes said all the outdoor seating areas in Denver are unbearable to nonsmokers. Councilman Rich Carroll brought up the 72 percent of Eagle County voters that approved the smoking ban in nonincorporated areas of the county like Edwards.

Councilwoman Tamra Nottingham Underwood said that Avon might be tougher on smoking than many places now, which is the direction the world is heading.

Councilwoman Amy Phillips said that as someone who worked in hospitality for many years, she was concerned for the workers who might have to breathe smoky air.

Jennifer Corrigan, a representative from the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, asked the council not to roll back the smoking ban.

The council received several letters about the ban ” six letters in support of the current law and five against it.