In their latest attempt to kill your rights, Boulder tries to pass nation's largest smoking ban

In their latest attempt to kill your rights, Boulder tries to pass nation's largest smoking ban

PoliticsOctober 09, 2014

Boulder's City Council members are the most conservative liberals we've ever seen. They're bypassing your vote to enact special legislation that will effectively ban all types of smoking, even vaping and using e-cigarettes, in outdoor public areas within much of the city, (when you include all the bike paths, multi use paths and open space lands.) Even France which now has the worlds toughest anti smoking laws didn't include E-cigarettes and Vaping in outdoor public spaces other than on public transport or playgrounds.

The new ordinance will mean that you can't smoke anything, anywhere unless you're inside, on private residence. Bring on the fun!

Sean Tanner, owner of Boulder Vapor House, who is actively petitioning against the ban, sits at the center of the debate since, his business in particular, is at great risk under the proposed ordinances.

"The City of Boulder is in the process of enacting a City Manager Rule to expand the Outdoor Smoking Ban and classify e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers as smoking devices and the activation of the devices as smoking," says Tanner.

Furthermore said Tanner, "The upcoming expansion would include all of downtown Boulder, all Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), all City Parks and Recreation areas, all Multi-Use Paths, all Transit Facilities as well as within 25 feet of any RTD bus stop and now updated to include Flat Irons Golf Course, Chautauqua and all downtown alleys. This is in addition to the existing ban at CU." But if you own a Y2K bunker that's been buried underground since the Cold War, knock yourself out!

Tanner went to the most recent City Council study session on September 23rd, where he says it "became quite clear that City Council has already made up their mind to include E-Cigarettes in the ban without any meaningful input from the public or any apparent unbiased understanding of the product or the community. It was also made very clear that the University Hill District will be added to the ban in the very near future."

Tanner introduced a great point as well: "Keep in mind the primary basis for the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act and the City of Boulders Outdoor Smoking Ban was the conclusive scientific proof that second hand smoke presents a risk to individuals exposed to it in public areas. Boulder Vapor House is not aware of any peer-reviewed scientific study, which concludes that second hand vapor presents any meaningful risk to public health. In fact, several studies found it to be far safer to the user than tobacco smoke with exposure to bystanders posing no apparent concern."

Doesn't it strike you as odd that e-cigarettes, which were created as a healthier, safer option to real cigarettes, would be banned? Why would a healthier option to tobacco be illegal? The city itself doesn't even know. In their official ordinance proposal document, they admitted that, "claims about e-cigarette safety or inability to impact bystanders are not yet fully verified."

The proposed (actually, it's pretty certain it will pass; you don't get to vote on it) ban comes during a peculiar time when Boulder's Mayor and City Council recently churned out legislation banning dispensary coupons and discounts within Boulder city limits. As per that ordinance, Boulder County dispensaries are not allowed to offer or advertise any type of coupon for their product in order to prevent individuals who are under 21 from purchasing marijuana. But coupon or not, individuals under 21 would still have to show ID to prove their age when entering an establishment, deeming this ban purblind, ineffective and unnecessary. Sadly, what the ban has done is disrupt an efficient market and place the dispensaries of Boulder at a competitive disadvantage. The kicker? Voters once again didn't have a say in the passing of this legislation and the Boulder City council effortlessly enacted the ban. Did we mention Boulder is the only county in Colorado to ban coupons?

Boulder's municipal government is becoming like the step dad that feels like he has no power in controlling an unruly kid's behavior. Or the boss that makes an example of you because that's what they think you're supposed to do when you're a boss. Why is Boulder's municipal government cracking down on things that have already been cracked down upon?

And didn't Boulder legalize recreational marijuana with the goal to regulate it like alcohol? Except there is no current ban on coupons for booze, something that even embryos know is infinitely more harmful than marijuana. There is also no ordinance that prohibits drinking in public, or any that forbid consuming safer alternatives to straight booze, like low-alcohol beer or wine. So remind us ... how is it being regulated like booze?

Marijuana was also legalized partially based on the premise that it would free up cop's time so they could focus on actual problems like robbery, murder, rape, and heavy narcotics like heroin or meth. But we doubt they'll have much free time if they're patrolling the streets looking for every individual smoker and ticketing them. It's a strange place to require police attention, especially since crime rates in Boulder haven't exactly decreased over the past few years. In fact, Boulder still has higher theft and rape rates than the national average. Why is there no police effort and "emergency legislation" geared toward that?

In the official proposed city ordinance document, the city even acknowledges that implementing the ban "might not be enforceable given police staffing realities." ... The fuck? So why do it at all? The same document also mentions that it might make Boulder seem "intolerant, inclusive, and not welcoming," and that it might be taken as targeting the "transient or homeless population."

Right. This is Boulder right now ...

... and this is us.

Dear god, Boulder. What are you going to ban next? Clouds? Because they block the sun, and the sun gives you Vitamin D? The sun, because it burns your perfect alabaster skin? Skin, because other people can see it and it itches sometimes? Make like yourself in 1970 and chill out.

If you want to get involved, November 18th will be the first public reading of the proposed ordinance, and December 16th will be the second reading, the first official public comment period and potentially the vote (by the council members, not you).

For more information on the proposed ban, links to the latest research, and to sign the online petition visit VapingisnotSmoking.org.

And if this frustrates you, feel free to voice your concerns to any of the people in the following list:

Mayor and City Council Members

Mayor Matthew Appelbaum: appelbaumm@bouldercolorado.gov

Mayor Pro Tem George Karakehian: karakehiang@bouldercolorado.gov

City Council Members

Macon Cowles: cowlesm@bouldercolorado.gov

Suzanne Jones: joness@bouldercolorado.gov

Lisa Morzel: lisamorzel@gmail.com

Tim Plass: plasst@bouldercolorado.gov

Andrew Shoemaker: shoemakera@bouldercolorado.gov

Sam Weaver: weavers@bouldercolorado.gov

Mary D Young: youngm@bouldercolorado.gov