BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall could become the first outdoor space in the state to ban smoking.
A lot of complaints have been coming in from tourists, residents and business owners about the dangers of secondhand smoke. The city hosted an open house on Wednesday to talk about the proposal.
“I think it’s taking away the rights as an American citizen,” one mall patron said.
“Should have happened a long time ago,” another said.
Boulder resident Stephanie Drummond attended the open house.
“We have had to get up from our meal and pay our tab and leave because the smoke has been so bad on Pearl Street,” Drummond said.
Secondhand smoke kills 40,000 people in the U.S. every year. Drummond says for health reasons alone nonsmokers should have rights as well.
“If people want to make that decision to smoke, it should not affect the rest of the public, in my opinion,” Drummond said. “I do nothing in my life that affects anybody else’s health.”
Sean Maher with the Boulder Business Improvement District says Boulder is one of the healthiest cities in the nation.
“It’s just a very, very health conscious community,” Maher said.
He says businesses have voted 3-1 in favor of the ban.
“Some would like to see it expanded to all of downtown but the city wants to take it one step at a time to be cautious,” Maher said.
He says businesses have been booming downtown despite the indoor smoking ban put in place in 1995. He says outdoor bans have already been successful in California and Minnesota.
Boulder resident Colleen Riedl says success is not the issue.
“You can’t ban something that’s legal on a public street in Boulder, Colorado,” Riedl said.
Maher says despite the opposition he’s confident the smoking ban will become reality by the end of the year.
The city council will vote on the issue on Nov. 15.