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Published February 19, 2010, 10:21 PM

Banning Smoking In Grand Forks Businesses

You could soon be breaking the law if you smoke at any Grand Forks business.

You could soon be breaking the law if you smoke at any Grand Forks business. City leaders have created a draft smoking ban ordinance to change the city's smoking law.

Grand Forks Hub Bar owner Rae Ann Moe wants city leaders to butt out of the smoking ban debate.

Moe says, "I put out all my ash trays on the table, and they're all used. Sometimes I don't have enough ash trays. It's the way it is, and I think it would be a little detrimental to my business."

However, smoking could soon be snuffed in Grand Forks businesses.

City attorney Howard Swanson has drafted the proposed changes to the city's smoking law. The ordinance, if approved, would be a lot like Minnesota and Fargo's laws. And bars aren't the only ones that would be affected.

Swanson says, "We also under this draft removed the exemption for truck stops, owner-operator businesses, tobacco retail stores, and private rented rooms, such as party rooms."

If approved, the law would also prohibit people from smoking at an entrance or exit of a building to five feet from that entrance or exit.

"If it's a trend, we're a little bit behind the trend. Nationally this type of an ordinance seemed to have been much more on the agenda in the early 2000s,” says Swanson.

The draft ordinance also prohibits smoking in outdoor or patio seating at businesses, but it does allow it in hotel and motel smoking areas. Moe says smokers will still find places to smoke, and businesses like hers will choke.

Moe says, "It's not going to stop smoking. We're just going to have to find an alternative."”

The city council will talk more about banning smoking in all workplaces on Wednesday.

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