Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2006
By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
With no violations being reported in the earliest days of Brewton's smoke free ordinance, it appears the measure has accomplished its goal. So far.
Some businesses, even though no complaints have been made, are having a tough time with some customers who are not happy about the change.
Those customers have the option of doing just that. However, that option is running out soon as East Brewton's smoke free ordinance will go into effect on November 1.
Brewton's ordinance went into effect on Sunday, October 1 and calls for all public facilities to be smoke free. East Brewton's ordinance is calling for the same action inside their jurisdiction.
Under the ordinance in both cities, smoking is prohibited within 25 feet outside an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited; all retail stores; seating areas of all outdoor arenas, stadiums and ball parks; licensed child care and adult day care facilities; polling places; restaurants; and others as the council has outlined.
The ordinance states that food and beverage establishments must choose to be identified as either a non-smoking facility or a smoking facility with a minimum age restricted to the age of majority for purchasing and smoking cigarettes in Alabama. At this time, the age is 19. No separate seating is offered for non-smoking patrons.
The ordinance is also clear in where smoking is allowed and where it is strictly prohibited.
Smoking is not allowed in educational facilities, government facilities and vehicles; hotel and motel areas that sever the public except in rooms that are rented to guests and are designated as “smoking” rooms; health care facilities; public recreational facilities, both indoor and outdoor; retail and service facilities such as banks, car dealerships, convenience stores, day care facilities, industrial buildings, laundromats, office buildings, public transportation vehicles, etc., in areas that serve the public.
Smoking will also be prohibited within 25 feet of a public doorway to a building where smoking is prohibited, except in a health care facility where the provider determines that a resident is physically unable to meet the reasonable distance requirement.
Although the ordinance was put into place by the city, there are some places where smoking is still an option.
Designated smoking areas for employees that protect other employees and the public from second-hand smoke are allowed. If an employee lounge is designated for smoking, a comparable area must be designated for non-smoking employees.
For those establishments that choose to prohibit smoking, signs clearly indicating that it is a smoke free facility must be installed. Likewise, those that allow smoking should also clearly indicate that they are a smoking facility with persons under 18 not admitted.
Penalties for violations vary. Proprietors, or business owners, who violate the newly established ordinance will face must stiffer fines than individuals.
In Brewton, the fine for a business owner violation is $100 plus court costs for the first violation. Second violations will carry at penalty of $500 and court costs if that violation occurs within 24 months of the first violation. For third and any subsequent violations within 24 months of the second violation, the fine will be $1000 plus court costs.
East Brewton's fines for business owners will be up to $100 for the first violation; up to $200 for the second violation within one year and up to $500 for each additional violation within one year.
In Brewton and East Brewton, individuals will also face fines for violations of the ordinance.
The first violation will bring a $50 fine plus court costs. Second and third violations will also carry stiffer fines and costs for the individuals who choose to smoke inside a public facility.