State health officials are trying to figure out how far away from cigarette smoke is far enough.
In November, Arizona voters approved a ban on smoking in most businesses and other buildings open to the public. And Proposition 201 also forbids smoking within a “reasonable distance” of the entrance of these buildings.
The measure, however, does not define exactly what that constitutes.
So that leaves the question to the state Department of Health Services. Staffers there are proposing a 15-foot barrier.
But Will Humble, head of the agency’s public health section, said that’s not necessarily the last word.
“We’re looking for public comment on that, everything from business owners to nonsmokers, to smokers,” he said.
The agency has set up three hearings next month and will be accepting written input.
“We want to get it right,” Humble said.
Humble said the health department has looked at what other states have done.
He said Colorado has a 15-foot rule. But smokers in Hawaii have to stay 20 feet away from building entrances. Washington, meanwhile, enforces a 25-foot barrier.
Humble said the rules will apply only to entrances used by the public. He said doors for employee use only will not be covered by the rule.
The restriction will not apply to doorways between patios and the indoor area of bars and restaurants.
But business owners still might have to come up with restrictions of their own. Humble said the regulations will state that smokers have to be far enough away from the doorway so that indoor patrons are not bothered by smoke.
Phoenix: 10 a.m. March 6, State Health Laboratory conference room, 250 N. 17th Ave.
Tucson: 11 a.m. March 7, Pima County Board of Supervisors hearing room, 130 W. Congress St.
Flagstaff: 1 p.m. March 8, Coconino County Board of Supervisors first floor meeting room, 219 E. Cherry Ave.
Written comments: Must be submitted by 5 p.m. March 8 to:
Kathleen Phillips, rules administrator
Arizona Department of Health Services
1740 W. Adams St., Room 200 Phoenix, AZ 85007