October 23, 2010 - The Denver City Council on Monday, October 18th agreed on an 11 to 2 vote to continue to ban smoking in areas surrounding hospitals. The council approved the ban on a trial basis in August of 2008. It was scheduled to sunset in November, but Councilwoman Carol Boigon convinced her colleagues to continue the ban despite complaints from some that the ban pushes smoking into residential areas. The ordinance, supported by hospitals, imposes a $300 fine for those smoking in the right of ways, such as sidewalks and medians, surrounding hospitals. (Denver council opposed "Personhood Amendment," continues ban on smoking near hospitals by Christopher N. Osher, The Denver Post, 10/19/2010)
The ordinance required smokers to move away from hospitals to light up. The legislation has drawn a criticism from an unlikely source. Dr. Charles Brantigan says he does not support a hospital smoking ban because he sees evidence of smokers by his house and along the streets of the Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center campus in North Denver. "If you walk up the street, the whole area is littered with cigarette butts," Brantigan said. "This is the 21st Avenue ashtray."
Brantigan called the ordinance unenforceable, saying police are not going to write tickets for such a minor offense. "It's a problem with people smoking outside the hospital and littering," Councilwoman Carol Boigan, who sponsored the ordinance, said. Boigan says private hospitals have largely utilized their security guards to ask people to stop smoking on hospital grounds.
She did say Denver Health Medical Center officials have asked to meet with police to come up with a strategy for better enforcement. Many patients or others walking near the sidewalk may not have an idea the law is in place.
Reference: VIDEO - Denver continues hospital smoking bans , 9News.com, 10/22/2010.