City to host no-smoking discussion

In response to queries from local businesses, the City of Fulton is hosting a no-smoking discussion Tuesday to help residents and business owners better understand how the new law will be implemented.

“We’ve had phone calls from businesses asking for more detail; asking where signs need to be placed, is their business covered by the order, how strict are we going to be on the 15 feet (from entrances)?” Director of Administration Bill Johnson said. “We figure with the calls we’ve been getting, there’s a lot of questions out there we haven’t been asked, so we thought we’d do this.

“The ordinance is pretty clear, but we just want to explain the implementation and eventual enforcement.”

Starting at 3 p.m. Thursday in the council chambers at city hall, Johnson and Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers will be available to answer questions regarding the recently-passed Fulton Clean Indoor Air Act — approved by a vote of 1,439 to 1,233. The city’s prosecuting attorney, Chris Wilson, may also be in attendance. The no-smoking ordinance — which prohibits smoking indoors at all Fulton businesses, and 15 feet from entrances to those businesses — officially takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.

Johnson said there is no plan for any sort of presentation during Thursday’s discussion, it will simply be a question-and-answer format.

As he has stated before, Johnson emphasized “the city’s involvement in the ordinance will be complaint-driven.”

“We believe customers will do the enforcement,” the city administrator said. “The only time we’ll get involved is if a business owner allows a violation to continue, or if a business manager calls us because a customer refuses to stop smoking.

“We do not believe enforcement of this is going to be a big deal.”

Darin Warner, Fulton’s public information officer, said the discussion also will be an opportunity for Fulton business owners to pick up free no-smoking window stickers provided by Fresh Air Fulton, the group which pushed the indoor smoking ban. All businesses are required to post no-smoking signs at all entrances.

“We were given 1,000 of these. They’re basically static cling stickers that you can peel and stick on a window — they’re about 4-by-4 inches and say ‘This is a smoke free building,’” Warner said. “Businesses don’t necessarily have to have these stickers, they can use a sign (of their choosing).”

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