Sidewalk Smokers May Soon Get Burned | NBC4 Washington

Sidewalk Smokers May Soon Get Burned

A new D.C. Council bill could blow it for smokers



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    With another smoking bill expected to be passed by the D.C. Council, District smokers soon may need a map to plot out where they can fire up a square. 

    Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to support a bill allowing business owners to post signs outside of their establishments that say “no smoking." Mayor Adrian Fenty spoke to NBC4's Tom Sherwood at a school groundbreaking and said he felt the bill struck a good balance.
    Not sure if that holds true, though, for smokers who have already accepted having to leave an establishment and go out into the cold to feed the monkey. If the bill passes, business owners would be able to ask folks, who are already outside,  to walk an additional 25 feet away from said establishment.
    "I think we can't get any further unless you want to ban smoking on sidewalks," at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee of Public Safety and the Judiciary, said last month.
    At this point though, the bill doesn’t include a penalty, unless lung cancer or emphysema counts for anything. The business owner can’t do anything if the smoker decides not to move, unless the proposed bill is changed.
    "These signs have actually no enforceability because unless you are on someone's property ... the property owner can't say to a person who is smoking on a public way that they may not do that," said Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh. "We would have to pass a law to provide for penalties ... we haven't gotten that far yet."  
    The new bill is meant to prevent smokers from congregating outside of office buildings and restaurants, according to the Washington Examiner, but it doesn’t stop there.
    If you are under the age of 18, you really shouldn’t be smoking, and the new bill will make sure of that. About $50 of your allowance will become District dollars if you are caught “possessing” tobacco. If you are caught using a fake ID to buy tobacco products, you could have to cough up $300.
    But hold your breath, council members still have to vote a second time in order to pass the bill.

    Sidewalk Smoking Ban

    [DC] Sidewalk Smoking Ban
    DC COuncil is debating weather to pass a law banning sidewalk smoking. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010)