First City in Hidalgo County to Approve a 100% Smoking Ban
By unanimous vote the Edinburg City Council amended an ordinance that now makes smoking illegal within the City. The comprehensive plan bans smoking in places of employment, public places, outdoor areas and City owned facilities as a means to protect the health and safety of residents by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
Effective immediately smoking is prohibited in public places customarily used by the general public such as:
Aquariums, galleries, libraries, and museums;
Professional offices, banks, laundromats, hotels and motels;
Theaters used to show motion pictures, stage, drama, lecture, recital, or other similar performance;
Health care facilities;
Childcare and adult care facilities;
Lobbies, hallways, and other common areas in apartment buildings, condominiums, parks, retirement facilities, nursing homes, and other multiple-unit residential facilities,
Polling places, public transportation facilities including buses and taxicabs, ticket, boarding, and areas of public transit depots;
Restrooms, lobbies, reception areas, hallways, and other common use areas;
Places of meetings or public assembly;
Sports arenas, including enclosed areas in outdoor arenas;
Additionally, the amendment stipulates that smoking shall be prohibited in all enclosed areas within places of employment, outdoor places such as pavilions and playgrounds located within City owned parks.
The amendment allows exemptions in hotel and motel rooms designated as smoking areas,outdoor seating areas of restaurants designated as smoking areas, private residences unless used as child care, adult care or health care facilities, and tobacco stores.
Mayor Richard H. Garcia says Edinburg is focused on quality of life and this amendment goes a long way toward protecting the innocent victims of secondhand smoke.
The amendment becomes effective immediately however a grace period will be allowed as City staff informs the business community and public in general about the ordinance and how it works.
The Police Department, Fire Department and the Code Enforcement Division will be charged with enforcing the ordinance. Cost for the first violation is $200, second violation is $500 and $2000 for a third violation.