As “No Smoking” signs are installed in the streets of downtown Grass Valley, the enforcement of the smoking ban is in full effect and has garnered mixed reviews from business owners and community members.
“I’m totally in favor of it,” said Amanda DuLac, a Grass Valley resident. “There’s been so many times when I’ve been walking around downtown and go around stores and don’t want to walk around because of smokers.”
Violators of the ban may be subjected to a minimum fine of $175, Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster said.
“But my hope is to get voluntary compliance,” Foster said. “We are raising awareness and informing the public.”
Grass Valley Downtown Association has also helped send out informational pamphlets and cards to be placed in business windows.
“We just kind of have been giving out pamphlets,” said Julia Jordan, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. “The police department has been really good at giving out cards and warning people that this is taking place, not trying to be mean, but it’s nice to have a smoke-free environment downtown and it creates less mess for merchants and maintenance crew.”
The implementation may take time, Foster said, as smokers adjust to the new ban.
“It’s going to be long-term and it’s going to take a while for people to adjust to having downtown smoke free,” Foster said. “I sort of relate it to when smoking was banned in bars. It took a while for people to start to comply, so we’re posting that the area is a smoke-free zone and educating businesses and people in the public.”
Some view the ban as a removal of rights for smokers.
“I am not a smoker and hate the smell of smoke in general,” said a person with the name “Sophia Jhajj” on The Union’s Facebook page. “But I do not agree with this ban. I think people should not smoke within 20 feet of buildings and there should be designated smoking areas. But not BANNING people from smoking at all. That is just too much.”
There will be a gathering from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 to clean up the remnants of cigarette smoking in the downtown area, Foster said.
“We are having a Grass Valley butt pick-up party event and we’re partnering with Youth on a Mission, Our Youth Coalition and the Nevada County Drug Free Coalition,” Foster said. “And we will just be in downtown picking up any cigarette butts we find, as well as handing out flyers to educate the public.”
The ban went into effect Dec. 1 to prevent the hazardous effects of second-hand smoke, Foster said.
Rebecca Saffold, manager of Nevada Club in downtown Grass Valley, said she has already noticed the ban has caused a decrease in the number of people walking around downtown.
“They’re going to be inconvenienced because we don’t have a smoking area,” Saffold said. “They’re still going to come to my establishment, but we don’t have as much foot traffic of people walking through town.”
For those against smoking, the city seems to have gained appeal with the ban.
“I’ve been here for 33 years and I love this town,” DuLac said. “It makes me love the town even more now that there’s a smoking ban.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4230.
“(M)y hope is to get voluntary compliance. We are raising awareness and informing the public.”
— Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster