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Smoking ban now in effect in many Davis outdoor areas

Published: Sunday, Jan. 6 2008 12:29 a.m. MST

FARMINGTON — Among various other new laws that took effect Jan. 1, smokers in Davis County may no longer light up at privately and publicly owned outdoor places.

The ban, passed by the Davis County Board of Health in June, applies to parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, golf courses, amphitheaters, fairgrounds, sports fields, amusement parks, swimming pools, concession stands, boweries, bleachers, plazas, cemeteries, public gardens, outdoor eating areas, common areas, walking/running trails and pathways and skate parks.

Smoking is permitted more than 25 feet away from places of incidental public exposure, in designated smoking areas established by the property owners and on golf course fairways and tee boxes.

In June 2006, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona issued a report concluding that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

"If you can smell it, it's harmful," says Davis County Health Department director Lewis Garrett.

The county's board of health found very few people opposed to the ban when it accepted public comment.

The ban also earned the board of health an award from the Coalition for Smoke Free Utah during the board's December meeting.

Coalition vice president Casey Hill said the public's exposure to the pollutants of secondhand smoke is a significant health concern, and the coalition supports moves by counties to enact similar ordinances.

Otherwise, cities within a county may end up with varying ordinances.

"It's an easy way to knock out 10 birds with one stone," he said.

Logan, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Herriman, Tooele, Midvale, Murray, West Valley City and South Jordan have similar outdoor smoking bans.

Though it's half a world away, Naples, Italy, has one, too.

Currently, Salt Lake County is eyeing such a ban. So is the Weber-Morgan Board of Health.

In Davis County, the penalty for smoking in public places is $25 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations in a two-year period.

Utah has the lowest smoker prevalence among states, at 9.8 percent, according to a September study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California trails Utah with 14.9 percent smoker prevalence.

Smokers likely found 2007 to be a bad year, with expanding no-smoking laws indoors, too.

Country clubs, private dining establishments and fraternal organizations became smoke-free. In January 2009, taverns and bars will also snuff smoking.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com

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