Boulder considers outdoor smoking ban

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BOULDER -- It isn't easy to find a place to smoke indoors in Colorado. Now city leaders in Boulder want to light up a new ban in outdoor areas as well.

Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum and other city council members are proposing an idea to block cigarette smoking on the Pearl Street Mall and possibly across the city.

"It's clearly been a trend that has benefited people," says non-smoking Boulder resident, Brian Vancil. "They weren't allowed to smoke in certain buildings, then public places and every step of the way our health has gotten better.”

However, most people FOX31 Denver spoke with in Boulder were against the idea of banning smoking outdoors.

"I think I would be against it and I am not a smoker," says Boulder resident Diane, who didn’t want to use her last name.

"It’s kind of harsh to tell people you can't be anywhere," says Madeline Komar, also a non-smoker.

Nikki Kennedy, a non-smoker and mother of two, says the ban would alienate smokers.

"I think it excludes people that are dealing with an addiction and I don't think that's what we want to do."

Some say the issue is a threat to their First Amendment rights.

"It's just kind of a thing where they are trying to take fundamental rights away from us and that's not okay with me," smoker Dylan Lesuer says.

Since the indoor smoking ban started back in 1995 in Boulder, one business we spoke with says the once feared ban made no difference in their bottom line.

"I know when they thought about doing it inside a lot of businesses were worried that it would detract from business, but I think it helped," says Carolyn Westfall of Art Mart on Pearl Street. "It's a smoke-free environment. That attracts some customers rather than detracts.”

So far an outdoor smoking ban on the Pearl Street Mall and throughout the city of Boulder is just an idea. Boulder city council did not include a public smoking ban in its 2012 work plan.
According to news reports, city staffers say they won't be working on the project until next year.

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