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Extinguish it or ticket? Cops may enforce smoking ordinance

By Ian Cull, KXLY4 Multimedia Journalist, ianc@kxly.com
Published On: Apr 05 2013 08:32:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 08:49:46 PM CDT
Cigarette in hand, smoking

Ferre' Dollar/CNN

SPOKANE, Wash. -

Smoking near public doors is illegal but rarely ticketed, but that may change if the Spokane City Council decides to allow police officers to start writing infractions.

The ban on smoking within 25 feet of a publicly used door -- or even smoking inside public places -- was passed seven years ago, but the City of Spokane never passed an ordinance allowing officers to ticket those people. They never thought they had too, but now the council wants to change that.

When security guards ask smokers outside the Peyton Building in downtown Spokane to move away they can't actually write any tickets. And, as of right now, neither can the police.

"Smoked here lots of times and never been stopped, or asked to move. This is the first time," smoker Ronald White said. White, along with many others, are technically breaking the law, but they can't be ticketed because the city doesn't have an ordinance allowing them to be ticketed.

So now the city council plans to pass an ordinance to make sure Spokane doors are smoke-free. Smokers mostly agreed, even the ones on the borderline of breaking the law.

David Franks has been warned before and said he wouldn't mind a ticket if caught.

"They've had this signage up for a long time now and they might as well enforce it," he said.

Warren Dunagan doesn't like the idea; he's sick of being asked to move off Post Street.

"It's almost putting us to ... to where we might have to smoke in the street. There's a chance of us getting hit by a car," he said.

Dunagan pledges smokers will take a stand if officers start enforcing the law.

"A lot of us are going to make a stand for it, which are going to protest, and that's going to make it more trouble for the cops," he claimed.

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