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Summerville's smoking ban begins today

Jul 11, 2011 8:07:00 PM - thestate.com
Put it out. Summerville’s ban on smoking indoors in public places takes effect today.

The law fines violators and establishment owners between $10 and $25 per incident. It allows exceptions, such as private residences and tobacco stores. It “grandfathers” existing cigar bars. The ordinance was passed in January by a Town Council divided whether it was over-reaching and interfered with business owners’ freedom to run their businesses.

The immediate impact won’t be large; most town businesses already have become smoke-free.

Enforcing the law will be largely under the jurisdiction of an 83-officer police force that has been stretched because of budget cuts. Among the issues are just how far from a building is a “reasonable distance” to allow smoking, and how that will affect restaurants with outdoor seating. Officers will respond to complaints, officials said.

“We’re going to handle it on a case by case basis,” said Police Capt. Jon Rogers.

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