Local News

Expanded public smoking ban in Durham begins Wednesday

Posted August 1, 2012 7:55 a.m. EDT
Updated August 1, 2012 7:57 a.m. EDT

— 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."