Galveston, Texas - smoking ban took effect January 1, 2010 but it may not be enforced..

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January 5, 2010 - The Galveston (Texas) City Council adopted a comprehensive smoking ban Thursday, July 23, 2009 forbidding people from lighting up in bars, restaurants, private clubs and tobacco stores. The ban took effect January 1, 2010. (Galveston, TX - comprehensive smoking ban adopted - takes effect January 1, 2010..

So beginning last Friday restaurants and bars rang in the new year by asking smokers to snuff their cigarettes. Galveston’s smoking ordinance — one of the strictest in the state — bans smoking in restaurants, bars and private clubs, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars club, on patios and in outdoor seating areas, including the sidewalks outside venues along The Strand and Postoffice Street.

Th Galveston Police Department said the ordinance is among the last on its list of laws to enforce, city spokeswoman Alicia Cahill said. Cahill said the police department sees the ordinance as a symbolic gesture; while the city council had good intentions when it approved the plan, it’s “unreasonable for the police department to give (the ban) its undivided attention,” she said.

On the scale of what Galveston police have to deal with day-to-day, the smoking ban falls to the bottom, she said. Police have no plans to raid bars, restaurants and private clubs to ensure they are following the ordinance — officers will respond to complaints, but the officer has to witness a person smoking in an area where smoking is banned to issue a ticket, Cahill said.

The offense is a class C misdemeanor — the equivalent of a traffic ticket — and comes with a $100 fine. Police will ticket individuals, not bars or restaurants, she said.

Reference: Smoking ban arrives with the new year by Rhiannon Meyers, Galveston County Daily News, 12/31/2009.