January 26, 2006
Avon, CO-—Eagle County, Colo. passed the most widespread smoking ban in the country on Jan. 10. The ban encompasses Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts and will prohibit smoking in lift lines, ticket lines, bars and outdoor public venues including cafes, restaurants, and work places.
The idea for a smoke ban came from a group of high school students called Get Real. They presented the proposal to the board of commissioners and described the effects of second hand smoke and their hopes to live in a smoke-free community.
"They said it was an important concern of theirs, explained Arn Menconi, Chairman of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. "Within six months the ban was passed. It was a good example of showing how their government is working for them.
The extensive ban followed the example set by Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C. Canada passed a smoking ban for all indoor and public venues in 1995 and Whistler/Blackcomb has self- regulated the smoking in their lift and ticket lines as well.
"We hope this will show leaders how healthy this area is and show that it's the world's best place to recreate, said Menconi.
Eagle County gave the ban a 72 percent approval rating, the highest approval ever for a ban of this nature and the county commissioners voted unanimously 3-0 to pass it.Menconi said that he has only heard of one patron speaking out against the banning of smoking in outdoor cafes, but has heard an overwhelming response of people supporting it.
Beaver Creek Resort Communications Manager Christina Schleicher said that she hasn't heard any complaints from their patrons. "As a general rule our guests are pretty healthy. I don't know how significant this ban will actually be to our patrons, she added.
County health department officials and sheriffs will enforce the ban, but 90 percent will be self-regulated, said Menconi. So what do you say if someone starts to smoke in a lift line? Menconi said you can always use the old Steve Martin joke:
"Hey, mind if I smoke?
"No, do you mind if I fart?