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Expanded public smoking ban in Durham begins Wednesday

Posted August 1, 2012

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— Despite reminders of Durham's tobacco history all around with names such as Brightleaf, Liggett & Myers and Lucky Strike, the Bull City on Wednesday will begin enforcing a new rule that bans smoking in many public places. 

Voted on by the Durham County Board of Commissioners in February, the new rules ban smoking in public places, such as playgrounds and recreational facilities, bus stops and sidewalks, enforced by a up to  $50 fine. 

Eric Nickens, of the Durham County Health Department, told WRAL News that the rules are about promoting health.

"It wasn't about being the first in the state or possibly the southeast," he said. "This was simply about protecting non-smokers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. We want to protect our residents and the visitors who come to Durham every day."

The ban also includes city and county buildings, trails and parks and the Durham Station Transportation Center and Train Station. 

Nickens said the city will avoid issuing fines unless there is an extreme circumstance. 

"Our approach is going to be education," he said. "If we see a violation or we receive reports of one, our health department staff will go out and educate those who are in violation."


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  • zachiarose Aug 2, 2012

    This is so outrageous! Why didn't they show this much enthusiasm and interest in the crime wave of Durham? It's okay to kill innocent children in drive-by shootings, as long as they don't have a cigarette hanging out of their mouth? Priorities are upside-down! Show the same interest in eliminating crime and gang activity as you did in banning smokers (taxpayers all) from smoking a cigarette!!!

  • donkeypendergraph Aug 2, 2012

    can we still pass gas with no tax?

  • donkeypendergraph Aug 2, 2012


  • SaltyOldJarhead Aug 2, 2012

    The Second Hand Smoke studies that have been performed showed that a person would have to be standing within 2 feet (i.e. intruding on someones personal space) in order to get anything approaching measurable second hand smoke. At 5 to 7 feet, the level is so small as to be unmeasurable.

    How can a Health Department official justify his comments when the scientific studies make his statement absurd?

    And why didn't the media call him on it?

  • SaltyOldJarhead Aug 2, 2012

    Shame on a public health official for telling outright falsehoods. Shame on the city council for believing them without question.
    And shame on the news media for not asking hard questions during interviews.

  • seenbetterdaze Aug 1, 2012

    What other item collects as much in high TAXES as Cigarettes...and besides...Tobacco Built Duke U.

  • 3779LRRP Aug 1, 2012

    I quit smoking 30 years ago, but don't have anything against anyone smoking outside. I rode by Duke Hospital today just to see if there were any smokers out front like there usually are. Yep! At the bus stop. So you might get a little wiff of diluted smoke that smells bad to you. How many non-smokers have sat around a campfire at night breathing smoke and having a grand ole time. There is some bad things in that smoke as well. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that. Campfires may be next on the ban list.

  • sweetums googoo Aug 1, 2012

    @ Texan

    Yea, and look how the whiney non-smokers come out of the woodwork to bash smokers now that some mis-guided politicians have overstepped their bounds. I don't come to your home to smoke, so its not "anywhere" and I don't complain about other's perfume, lotion or otherwise foul odors/manners/actions in public spaces, I as an adult can move away from the offending person. I guess that might not be an option for those looking to bash or point fingers. It would be too easy... Let's legislate all the rights away for the sake of not being offensive.

  • bluedevil18 Aug 1, 2012

    What is wrong with everybody. Thats unconstitutional to say "you cant smoke outside on a sidewalk" thats just another reason not to go to durham.

  • wayneboyd Aug 1, 2012

    Someone tell me how you can write a citation to a person who is smoking anywhere. I don't smoke but I'm just curious. They can't write one for a person smoking in a bar or restaurant they have to cite the owner of he establishment. Am I wrong?