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Smoking ban wins approval

Nine on council back law to take effect Jan. 1

momentum for state bill grows

February 27, 2007|By John Fritze | John Fritze,SUN REPORTER

"She definitely demonstrated her power," said Frank D. Boston, a lobbyist for the Baltimore Licensed Beverage Association, who said he believed early Monday that he still had a chance of killing the measure. "Before today, I had the votes."

john.fritze@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Laura Smitherman contributed to this report.

THE BAN

Smoking bans are in place in cities and states across the country, but they differ greatly. Here's a look at some details of the ban approved last night by the Baltimore City Council.

When does the ban take effect? Jan. 1

Where would smoking be prohibited? Though there are exceptions, the ban generally applies to any enclosed area to which the public is invited or that is a place of employment.

Examples? The ordinance lists almost two dozen examples of places where smoking would be barred. Many, such as museums, already prohibit smoking. The list includes bars and taverns, bowling alleys, pool halls, common areas of apartment buildings, homeless shelters, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, taxis and company cars.

Where can you smoke? Outside areas, such as parks or sidewalk seating at a restaurant, are exempt. Private cars and homes are not affected, and some hotel rooms may be designated for smoking. Cigar bars and tobacco shops may continue to allow smokers under certain guidelines.

What type of smoke is covered? The ban includes smoke from a cigarette, cigar, pipe or "other tobacco, weed or plant product of any kind."

How will it be enforced? The ordinance does not provide added resources for enforcement. Supporters say health inspectors will handle enforcement.

What if I get caught? If you're a business owner, the fine is $500. If you're a patron, the fine is $250.

Other exceptions? Business owners are in the clear if they ask the smoker to stop smoking, remove all ashtrays, post a "no smoking" sign and refuse to serve the smoker. Business owners can appeal to the Health Department for a waiver.

Other bans

Ban covering restaurants and at least

CITY ..................................... POPULATION............... SOME BARS

New York.......................... 8,143,197 ....................... Yes

Los Angeles .................... 3,844,829 ....................... Yes

Chicago ........................... 2,842,518 ........................ Yes

(Applies to taverns on July 1, 2008)

Houston ........................... 2,016,582 ....................... Yes

(Effective September 2007)

Philadelphia ................... 1,463,281 ........................ Yes

(Certain bars may apply for a waiver)

Phoenix .......................... 1,461,575 ........................ Yes

(Effective May 1, 2007)

San Antonio .................. 1,256,509 .......................... No

(Bars are exempt; separate, enclosed smoking areas required in restaurants)

San Diego ..................... 1,255,540 ......................... Yes

Dallas ............................. 1,213,825 ......................... No

(Ban applies to restaurants, not bars)

San Jose, Calif. ............... 912,332 ....................... Yes

Detroit ............................... 886,671 ........................ No

Indianapolis .................... 784,118 .................... Partial

(Bars prohibiting customers under 18 are exempt)

Jacksonville, Fla. ........... 782,623 ....................... No

San Francisco ............... 739,426 ..................... Yes

Columbus, Ohio ............ 730,657 ..................... Yes

Austin, Texas ................. 690,252 ..................... Yes

Memphis, Tenn. ............ 672,277 ...................... No

Baltimore ....................... 635,815 ...................... Yes

(Pending signature of Mayor Sheila Dixon; effective 2008)

Fort Worth ..................... 624,067 ....................... No

Charlotte, N.C. ............. 610,949 ....................... No

Note: Includes cities covered by statewide bans.[Sources: Newspaper coverage in various cities, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.]

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