Smoke Free Summit to discuss banning butts
SUMMIT COUNTY – A group calling itself Smoke Free Summit will meet next week to coordinate efforts to determine if Summit County favors a ban on smoking in public places. If the group finds citizens do support such a ban, they will then draft an initiative to enact such a ban.The meeting, which is open to anyone interested in the issue, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Summit County Community and Senior Center at the County Commons.Smoking bans have been an issue of debate throughout the nation and have pitted smokers who feel government shouldn’t meddle in private business against nonsmokers who feel they have the right to breathe clean air in public places.”They want to see if this is something Summit County wants to do,” said Laurie Blackwell, tobacco prevention coordinator with the Summit Prevention Alliance. “It has to be citizen-driven. You have to have the majority of people who are passionate about it, or it isn’t right for us.”Numerous municipalities throughout Colorado have gone smoke-free, and others are considering doing so.Eric Mamula, owner of Downstairs at Eric’s, made his restaurant smoke-free Feb. 1 and said he has had no major complaints.”I’ve had a couple of people leave, and I’ve directed others to other bars in town, but I’m picking up a few people who used to not come in,” he said. “I’m getting a lot of response from people who said they didn’t used to come in because we used to allow smoking, and now they do.”Many business owners, particularly those with late-night offerings, fear a smoking ban would hurt business. Mamula hasn’t seen it.”If I’m going to lose business on it, fine,” he said. “Some things are more important. You have to make choices in life. That was our choice.”Town and county leaders say any local smoking ban should be initiated by citizens, not by the government.Despite his decision to ban smoking in his establishment, Mamula believes such decisions should be up to business owners.”I don’t think anyone should force any business owner to do what they don’t want to do,” he said. “I’m never in favor of people telling me what to do.”Many citizens believe acitizen-initiated ban would be more readily accepted than one mandated by a government-sponsored referendum.”That’s one of the things the council struggles with,” said Smoke Free Summit member and Dillon Town Manager Jack Benson. “Government is in the business of protecting the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. The government creates a level playing field for people to interact. We regulate water, regulate sewage, if there are too many cars on a road, we have a dust mitigation plan put in effect – there are numerous examples where government has a role in protecting people. From what I’m hearing, businesses would accept the intrusion if it applied to everyone. I feel smokers are pretty conscientious and would adapt to a ban.”We’re still learning about this,” he added. “We all know second-hand smoke is not healthy, but it’s been an accepted practice for a long time. It’s difficult.”For more information, e-mail smokefree_Summit@Yahoo.com.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or email@example.com.(Editor’s Note: There are non-smoking restaurants and bars throughout the county. They include, but may not be limited to: the Backcountry Brewery, Dillon Dam Brewery, Angel’s Hollow, Hearthstone, A&W, Arby’s, Bamboo Garden, CinnaMonster, Blue Moose Pizza, Blue Moose Restaurant, Burger King, Cafe Breck, Charlie Dogs Subs, China Szechuan, Creekside Pizza, Deli Belly’s 2, Fiesta Jalisco in Breckenridge, Euro Deli, Good Times Burgers, Horseshoe II, JJ Chinese Seafood, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kirin Chinese, Kula’s Cafe, Log Cabin Cafe, MiZuppa, Michael’s Italian Restaurant, Mitch’s Deli and Pizzeria, Paesano’s, Pierre’s River Walk Cafe, Quizno’s, Rasta Pasta, Red Orchid, Ristorante Al Lago, Stage Door Cafe, Steak & Rib, Subway, Sushi Breck, Swan Mountain Inn, Swiss Haven, Taco Bell, Ti Amo Ristorante, Top of the World, Voila Bistro, Wasabi, Wendy’s, Windy City Pizza, Lazaroni’s, Cafe Alpine, Giampetro’s, Main Street Bistro, Garden Room, Bighorn Steak House, Keystone Ranch, Alpenglow Stube, RazzBerry’s, Der Fondue Chessel, Edgewater Cafe, Gassy’s and Ski Tip Lodge, Downstairs at Eric’s.—Smoke Free Summit- What: A citizen task force to determine the viability of a smoking ban- When: 7 p.m. Feb. 27- Where: Community and Senior Center, Frisco- Info: (970) 453-5298
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