Sunday, August 15, 2010

2 last articles on Grand Forks (article copy-and-pasted below, since INFORUM has a history of quickly removing news articles after they're published on their site)

Published August 14 2010
Grand Forks bars to go smoke-free at midnight
Audra Goulet said she imagines spending time with friends at Grand Forks bars will still be about the same – even after a big change that goes into effect tonight.

By: Ryan Johnson, Forum Communications Co., INFORUM

Audra Goulet said she imagines spending time with friends at Grand Forks bars will still be about the same – even after a big change that goes into effect tonight.

Liquor establishments in the city will become a little less hazy at midnight, a result of a 4-3 vote by the Grand Forks City Council to ban smoking in bars, truck stops and bowling alleys.

Goulet said being a smoker makes many people incorrectly assume she’s upset about the ban.

“I’m actually kind of looking forward to it because I’ll smoke less probably,” she said. “I think it’s probably a good thing.”

Goulet and a friend, Jennifer Dotson, were spending their Friday night at Rumors, enjoying their last full night of being able to have a smoke while relaxing over drinks and conversation.

Dotson said she’s ready for the ban. She is a smoker, but she quickly admitted sitting in a smoky bar for a while is enough to make anyone “stink bad.”

“Some nights, you go out, and when you wake up ... you can still smell the smoke,” she said.

Having a cigarette during a night on the town will now just be a lot like it is when she’s home – Dotson doesn’t smoke inside her own house because she doesn’t want her 2-year-old daughter to be around it.

“I think it would actually be better at a bar,” Dotson said about the ban. “Yeah, I like to smoke and drink, but it’s not really going to bother me to go outside.”

Goulet said the change could help smokers decide to quit. And she thinks it won’t take long before the ban seems like it’s always been in place.

“Just like in Minnesota, they’re going to get used to it,” she said. “I was just amazed how long it took Grand Forks and North Dakota to get there.”

East Grand Forks and all other Minnesota cities went smoke-free several years ago as the result of a statewide indoor smoking ban for most public places.

North Dakota passed a ban around the same time, but that did not include bars – a type of business that was exempt in Grand Forks until now.

Mac Pesch, manager of Rumor’s, said his establishment plans to put containers outside to keep the littering to a minimum. And the bar might build a smoke hut this fall to give smokers a place to get out of the weather.

Pesch said the ban could hurt Rumors’ gaming or even the overall business. But he also saw this type of change as something that was almost inevitable.
This is very insane, this city council(erm commission, or whatever it's called) only approved this proposal on a 4-3 vote, and didn't try the route of letting that city do a referendum vote on this ban? And ahem, I initially forgot North Dakota's smoking ban doesn't include enclosed bar areas within bowling alleys that only adults can enter, similar to the truck stop exemption that allows smoking in enclosed rooms with their own ventilation.

2nd article, which just spells out the rules. you're probably better not clicking on the URL for this one, so I'm just copying-and-pasting the Grand Forks smoking ban rules, including a silly 15 foot radius rule around building entrances that'll likely not be enforced, if the 21/2 year old statewide ban in Illinois is any indication how this smoking ban will play out in Grand Forks bars:
For the smokers

- No smoking in any workplace or public place except hotel rooms, hospital rooms and nursing homes if management allows. Also, no smoking in tobacco shops except the ones licensed before March 1, which are grandfathered in.

- No smoking within 15 feet of any door into any workplace or public place, except the places above.

This probably doesn’t mean you have to bring a tape measure with you all the time. City Attorney Howard Swanson told council members earlier this week the intent is just to keep the smoke from wafting into the building and police officers will not be measuring where you stand when you smoke anymore than they’d pull you over for driving 26 in a 25 mph zone.

- You can still smoke on the patio or a wind screen outside a bar, provided the bar serves only alcohol there, but not food.

- If you break the law, you can be fined $100 on the first violation and $500 on the second if it’s within a year of the first offense. If it’s a year after the first, the fine would be only $200.

For the businesses

- You have to post signs banning smoking in a conspicuous place. No particular design is required, but the signs must be pretty clear. Public health has some you can have ranging from straight forward — “This is a smoke-free establishment” — to somewhat jubilant — “Proud to be smoke free!” Call (701) 787-8100 for your sign.

- If someone wants to smoke on your premises, public health advises you to be understanding but firm. You might say, for example: “The local ordinance no longer allows smoking inside here. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to step outside to smoke.”

The point, the department says, is to emphasize that it’s the law and your business could be fined for not complying. Public health also advised trying to spread the word about how bad second-hand smoke is using facts such as: “Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause lung cancer and heart disease and has been linked to asthma and other serious respiratory problems” or “Secondhand smoke contains more than 60 cancer-causing compounds.”

- If they insist on breaking the law, call the police at (701) 787-8000.

- If you want to build a shelter for employees or customers to smoke in, it can have a roof, but only enough walls to cover 50 percent of the perimeter. In other words, it can’t be fully enclosed. People inside would end up in a smoky room all over again.
Yawn, I see this smoking ban has a snitch line that goes to Grand Forks Police for enforcement? Why couldn't they(Grand Forks City Commission) have instead referred this issue to voters for a November referendum, or just require exterior signage and disclosure on job applications/interviews on whatever their indoor smoking policy was, so that job patrons and applicants can vote accordingly whether they favor a business' smoking policy or not?

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