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ND Smoking Ban: Has It Been Effective? - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND Smoking Ban: Has It Been Effective?

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North Dakota voters approved banning public smoking within 20 feet of doors, windows, and vents. In downtown Fargo there were a few smokers, who are obeying the law.

"I don't smoke until I get past the railroad tracks, and then I don't smoke until I get here." Steve Anderson says. He was sitting on a bench well beyond the distance in order to obey the law.

But there are many smokers who don't stay 20 feet away.

"I think we were pretty hopeful early on that the law would pretty much be self enforcing," says Robyn Litke Sall with Fargo Cass Public Health, "and that's pretty much seemed to be, people are following the law and they are taking it upon themselves to not break the laws."

But not everyone is satisfied with that explanation.

"Law that's written should be enforced, either way if they're going to be lazy about enforcing it I don't think they should make the law." Says Blake Hagen.

"We receive anonymous complaints, then we contact the business and discuss the complaint with them, um what they could do differently to enforce the law, more of a teachable moment than it is an enforceable moment for us." Litke Sall says.

Many admit, it doesn't bother them enough to do anything about it.

"I'd probably just keep on walking." Anderson laughs.

"I probably wouldn't call on it. I think it's the police officers duty and the duty of the city to take care of the enforcement not the citizens." Hagen says. "It's going to take a little more time and more enforcement by the law to get people obeying it."

Fargo Cass Public Health says they've been watching for violations but haven't seen many. And in most cases, it isn't until after multiple complaints that they'll get the police involved.

For people who violate the law it could be up to but doesn't exceed a $50 fine.

Businesses who don't enforce the law are given a fine that will not exceed $100 the first time, $200 the second, and can be up to but not exceed $500 if the violations happen within the same year.

If you want to report an issue of illegal smoking then just call the Fargo Cass Public Health Office. Officials there want to remind businesses are required to have a smoke free sign to be posted, and those can be picked up at the Public Health Office.

 


 

We're coming up on a year since North Dakota voters approved a law, aiming to curb smoking in public areas. Some wonder if it's working, or being ignored.

It's been 9 months since the North Dakota voted to ban public smoking within 20 feet of doors, windows, and vents. And in Downtown Fargo there are some smokers who are obeying the law. But there are others who don't follow the law, and some question it's effectiveness.

Since the law's been in place Fargo Cass Public Health has received 3-dozen reports of illegal smoking, but have yet to issue a single fine.

Thursday on Valley News Live at 10 PM hear what people are saying about the law, and if they feel it's being enforced enough.

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