Chico city council members have approved a new smoking ban that prohibits smoking within 20 feet of a building. Council members voted in favor of the ban five to two, but before they approved the ordinance a public hearing was held so they could hear from the community on the matter and everyone who spoke tonight was very much in favor of the ban.
Council members say the ordinance will go into effect in 30 days. This is to give business owners a chance to familiarize themselves with the ban. Even though the ordinance prohibits anyone from smoking 20 feet from a building however, smokers who are walking by a business and not standing in front of it will not be penalized.
Right now council members have not decided what those penalties will be but as it stands right now community members at tonight's meeting seem to be very pleased that action is being taken. Chico resident Francis Cuny said, "tobacco is a gateway drug and if there anything that we can do to prevent role modeling of addicted behavior is a good thing not that I want everybody to quit smoking I just think its a good thing not to do it around our children."
Though many who attended the meeting were for the ban one Chico man we spoke with was very much against it. He said that the issue needs to be discussed on a higher level than the city council level.
Council members have requested a code enforcement also known as a review of the ban, six months after it goes into effect. They say this will help them as well as the public see what kind of effect it's having on the city.