Snowmass mulls outdoor smoking ban |

Snowmass mulls outdoor smoking ban

Steve Alldredge
Snowmass Village correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” A proposed new ordinance could make it illegal to smoke in public outdoor spaces in Snowmass Village, including the Jazz Aspen Labor Day Festival grounds, lift lines and the outdoor areas of the Snowmass Mall.

Currently, smoking is prohibited within enclosed public places and enclosed work places in the town, but the proposed new ordinance could essentially extinguish puffing in “any area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted.” Town action to adopt the stricter rules could come in early November.

Already, smoking is not permitted at the popular free Thursday night concerts held each summer on Fanny Hill. That ban could be extended to the Jazz Aspen concerts, with smoking only permitted in clearly defined areas. Smoking would also not be permitted in lift lines at the Snowmass ski area.

However, smoking would still be allowed on biking, hiking, skiing and equestrian trails.

The proposed smoking ordinance has been informally discussed by Town Council for the past year; it was considered at a formal first reading last month.

“I think it is our duty to regulate the health, safety and welfare of our community,” said Councilman John Wilkinson, who supports the new smoking ban. According to statistics Wilkinson gathered from the American Lung Association, “second-hand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers in the United States each year.”

Other members of Town Council feel the new ordinance is over-regulation.

“You can’t teach common sense,” said Councilman Reed Lewis, who noted the members of the public with whom he has spoken regarding the ordinance were more interested in seeing the council “working on stuff that actually matters in this town.”

Councilman Arnie Mordkin, a local attorney, helped draft the new legislation and noted that it may be “broader than intended.”

While Mayor Douglas “Merc” Mercatoris supports anti-smoking efforts, and offers employees at his restaurant cash to kick the habit, he too considers the proposed new ordinance overly broad.

Some members of Town Council are concerned the public isn’t aware of the proposed ban and hasn’t weighed in on the proposal.

Council members have invited constituents to contact them regarding the ban; Town Council members’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be found on the town’s homepage,

Most council members agree the new ordinance needs tweaking and have tabled the proposal until their Nov. 5 meeting.