Boulder, CO to eye smoking ban throughout downtown

The Associated PressUpdated: September 24, 2014 

BOULDER — Boulder will consider extending a smoking ban to cover its entire downtown business district, including alleys behind businesses where smokers frequently take breaks.

An ordinance to be introduced this fall would also ban smoking in city parks, on multi-use paths and anywhere within 25 feet of public bus stops and libraries. It would also cover city-owned open space, including leased agricultural lands and any associated houses, and anywhere in Chautauqua.

On Tuesday, the city extended its existing smoking ban to the Boulder High School campus, The Daily Camera reported (

One end of the school property has attracted smokers driven from a lawn outside a library that bans smoking. The school has its own smoking ban that has not been enforced by the city.

Boulder’s smoking ban applies to flammable tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, as well as e-cigarettes. Chewing tobacco is not affected.

Councilman George Karakehian, who owns a business downtown, said alleys are littered with cigarette butts that get washed into Boulder Creek.

Councilman Andrew Shoemaker said an alley ban would be hard on Boulder Theater, as smoking is an ingrained part of the entertainment industry culture.

“I’m concerned about displacement, but I’m also concerned about the economic vitality of the entertainment industry,” he said.

Councilwoman Suzanne Jones said culture couldn’t be a major consideration if the reason behind the smoking ban is health.

“If we care about health, we care about everyone’s health,” she said.

The ban would not apply to the University Hill area. Asked why, Molly Winter, who heads up the Downtown and University Hill Management Division, said University Hill is on the cusp of redevelopment and the city didn’t want to do anything that could be perceived as hurting business.

Karakehian noted initial concerns that the restaurant smoking ban would kill Boulder’s restaurant industry but said instead it has thrived.

If approved, the smoking ban extension would go into effect in March.

The ordinance would cap penalties at fines of no more than $1,000 and jail sentences of no more than 90 days for repeat offenders. A typical smoking ticket costs $100.

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