Town to council resolution affirming county smoking ban

Jan. 27, 2013 @ 03:57 PM

The Town Council will consider a resolution tonight affirming that the smoking ban recently adopted by the Orange County Board of Commissioners applies in town.

While the town is in the county, state law allows municipalities to decide whether smoking bans adopted by counties apply within municipal jurisdictions.

So, the council will essentially decide whether to opt-in or opt-out of the smoking ban.

A municipality may opt-in by approving a resolution doing so. And it may opt-out by giving the county written notice of its intention. After such a notice is received by the county, the ban will terminate after 30 days.

“Based on the language in the second sentence of this statute, the town attorney is of the opinion that, in order to ensure that the county’s regulations are applicable and enforceable within the town, if that is the council’s goal, the council should adopt the attached resolution to make the county’s new smoking regulations applicable within the town limits in Orange County,” Town Manager Roger Stancil wrote in a memo to council members.

In November, the commissioners approved the ban on a 6-1 vote banning smoking in most public places.

The county, for example, bans smoking on publicly owned property such as parks and sidewalks as well as privately owned places where the public is invited.

A person caught smoking in one of the banned areas could receive a $25 citation.

State law already bans smoking in most bars, restaurants and lodging establishments,

The county’s ban goes a step further, for example, by banning someone in a restaurant or bar in a downtown location from standing outside on a public sidewalk while smoking a cigarette or cigar.

It also applies to privately owned indoor spaces where the public is invited, such as stores and office complexes.
Smoking is banned inside a store but a person would not be banned from smoking outside the store in its privately-owned parking lot. In privately-owned office buildings, smoking is banned in public areas such as lobbies or areas where the public does business, but it would not apply to an individual’s office if the public is not invited into that space.
The ban applies to property owned by Orange County and the municipal governments of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and the parts of Mebane that are in Orange County.