Unintended Consequences With Smoke Free Law - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Unintended Consequences With Smoke Free Law


Voters in November decided they wanted the state to go smoke free.

But businesses say there may be unintended consequences.

As Donnell Preskey reports, businesses are asking lawmakers why they need to pick up the tab.

<< When measure four passed... Not only did the state go smoke free -- but all businesses are now required to put signs up on every entrance, and signs in every work vehicle.

(Tom Balzer) "the cost to comply and the amount of signs needed to comply is just astronomical. It's unreasonable."

Tom Balzer says lawmakers should take a look at the unintended consequences this law creates.

House Bill 1253 would reimburse business owners for the costs incurred from the new statewide ban.

(Tom Balzer) "the potential of this building alone. 2,000 signs alone including in every vehicle."

(Rudie Martinson) "We have been shooting at a moving target."

Bars and restaurants have made significant investments in the last six years reacting to smoking ordinances

(Rudie Martinson) "Initially banned, put money up to separate restaurants and bars and put special air filter systems and spent thousands on lodges outside."

Sports Page in south Bismarck spent $40,000 when smokers were shoved outside.

Truck stops spent up to $200,000 to create smoking rooms - that are no longer allowed.

(Jeanne Prom / ND Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control) "It applies everywhere, even in places that didn't have a city ordinance before. A sign is helpful. Reduces burden on our law enforcement."

Representative Todd Porter owns Metro Ambulance in Bismarck and Mandan.

The ambulance service has never allowed smoking in the building or in the vehicles -- but Porter still has to put up the signs.

(Prom) "You operate in a way that you think it's commonsense not to smoke in the vehicle. I think it's a uniformity of the law that's helpful."

(Porter ) I have a hired hand and tractor, now I have to put a sticker in my tractor saying no smoking on my farm?

(Prom) "if you have a farm and have an employ -- than that would apply."

(Prom) Because this is a new law, I think it's good to have a new law apply evenly across the board.

There's a fine for smoking in a smoke free zone or for allowing smoking in your business or vehicle.

But even she admits, the law will more than likely not be heavily enforced. >>

Prom says businesses aren't required to post a particular sign.

It can be handwritten or printed off from the Breathe ND website.

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