The Impact of the Expanded Smoking Ban in Boulder

by Osman Parvez

City Council passed an expanded smoking ban last night. Effective March 19, smoking will be banned at all Parks and Recreation and Open Space & Mountain Parks lands, all multi-use paths and 25 feet on each side of the paths, 25 feet from all transit stops and building doorways, outdoor seating areas at restaurants or taverns, the downtown Boulder Business Improvement District, the Boulder Civic Area, and the area surrounding Boulder High School. 

A map of the entire downtown Boulder smoke-free area is below.

The ordinance prohibits smoking and using e-cigarettes or electronic smoking devices. Violators will be subject to a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or a maximum of ninety days jail.

Community Impact

1. Over time, expect fewer panhandlers at downtown street corners and fewer groups of homeless people hanging out in parks or along the Boulder Creek path.  Downtown crime rates, particularly around the Boulder Creek path and the library will fall.  The downtown area will be a more pleasant and safer place to visit

2. Expect to see more transients hanging out in surrounding neighborhoods, particularly where significant pedestrian and vehicle traffic occur.   An increase in panhandling and petty crime will occur in East Pearl, Goss Grove, University Hill, Newlands, the area around Whole Foods, the 29th Street Mall, and the Table Mesa shopping plaza.     You'll also see more homeless hanging out in parks where a law enforcement presence is minimal such as Martin Park, North Boulder Park, and Scott Carpenter Park.

3. In coming years, the ban will be expanded.  

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