A proposed smoking ban at Denver’s popular 16th Street Mall was approved Monday night. Starting December 1, people at the mall will no longer be allowed to light up. The smoking ban was approved unanimously 9-0 by Denver City Council, with the desire for more regulation on outdoor smoking in the city.

Approved Smoking Ban Backs the Belief that Public Has the Right to “Breathe Easy”

Earlier in the month, Council President Albus Brooks had the following to say about the proposed ban: ““40,000 to 80,000 people per day are on the 16th Street Mall and they have the right to breathe easy. 4,500 municipalities have smoke free zones in their cities.”

Denver will soon have another non-smoking zone within city limits. Known as “Breathe Easy,” the ban will include the following:

  • All types of cigarette and tobacco smoking are banned within 50 feet northeast and southwest of 16th This includes the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. It covers the area of the mall from Broadway to Chestnut Place.
  • Marijuana use is prohibited in public places in Denver. Those in favor of the ban believe that it will help law enforcement officers easier differentiate between tobacco and marijuana smoking.
  • The penalty for smoking after the ban is set in place will carry a potential fine of $100. Officials however, say officers will most likely give someone information about the ban along with a warning, before a ticket is issued.

Smoking Ban Moves Forward After Being Debated for Weeks

Before the ban was approved, it was debated for weeks. Those in favor of the ban, including the Downtown Denver Partnership, who worked with the city to make the plan come together, believe it is “an idea whose time has come.”

There is already outdoor smoking bans in several other downtown areas in surrounding Colorado cities. Fort Collins, Boulder, and Golden all have smoking bans in place. Denver doesn’t want to ban smoking throughout the entire downtown. Officials just want to see more regulation.

Those on the fence about the ban believed that it would target the homeless. And that mall employees on their smoke break would be especially affected. The ordinance only requires people to move 50 feet away however.

Councilman Paul Kashman wants to make sure people aren’t unjustly targeted. He put forth an amendment that would require Denver police to collect information about who receives tickets. Regular reports must be then made to city council.

Kashman says he want to “be absolutely sure that those who decide not to take that stroll, due either to obstinance or ignorance” aren’t unjustly targeted. This includes everyone. From shoppers and people on vacation, to mall employees and the homeless who inhabit the area.

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