Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

D.C. Council approves sidewalk smoking provision

It’s official: If you own a business in D.C. and are having a problem with secondhand smoke drifting inside from smokers outside, you can post “no smoking” signs outside.
 
The D.C. Council today approved the so-called “sidewalk smoking” provision — a few lines tucked in a much longer bill (18-428) designed to curb tobacco use by minors. It states that business owners can ask smokers to move away from the building. The measure has no enforcement mechanism – disobeying will not lead to a fine or citation. The Council is counting on smokers having the good sense and courtesy to smoke elsewhere.
The sidewalk smoking provision says:
A property owner or ground-floor commercial tenant has the authority to post signs on his or her property stating that smoking is not permitted on public space within a specificed distance from and abutting the building wall. The distance shall not be greater than 25 feet or the distance to the far side of the adjacent public sidewalk, if any, whichever is less. An authorized sidewalk cafe shall not be subject to a no-smoking sign posted pursuant to this section unless the sign has been posted by, or with the consent of, the owner or operator of the sidewalk cafe.
The bill passed unanimously on its final reading and will take effect after a mandatory congressional review period.
 
A big thanks to Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who crafted the provision after Smokefree DC told him of the many calls we have received from people inside offices who were breathing secondhand smoke that had drifted inside. That violates the spirit and intent of the smokefree workplaces law. Since that law doesn’t address outside venues, we asked him about a fix. This was his solution.
 
Please thank Councilmember Mendelson (pmendelson@dccouncil.us) and the entire Council dccouncil@dccouncil.us

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