San Marcos smoking ban goes into effect Jan. 1

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 30 at 11:40 PM

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Smoking is still allowed in San Marcos restaurants, bars and public spaces. But that's about to change, starting Jan. 1, 2014.

"All of our municipal buildings and parks will go smoke free," said San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero. "The primary purpose of that is this is a health issue."

As expected, some disagree with the ban that blocks the use of cigarettes, cigars, electronic cigarettes and vapor devices.

"In a wide open space like this," said smoker Carl Davis, Jr., referencing a park, "Where you've got, you know, the picnic tables that are far away from people and stuff like that, you're getting worse fumes from all the traffic going by then off a simple cigarette."

Davis wasn't the only one who thinks banning smoking in parks isn't fair. So did former smoker Joe Pineda.

"I think we're losing some freedom there, ain't we? Tell somebody they can't smoke outside," Pineda said.

Guerrero disagreed.

"We're making sure that our parks are good, safe and healthy places for families and children to reside," Guerrero said. 

City property is just step one. On June 1, 2014, smoking will be banned in all public places including bars, restaurants, indoor music venues and workplaces.

"I don't really see this as being something that is going to come to our community as a shock," said Guerrero. 

That's partly because two years ago, city leaders tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a ban.

Though it failed, Valentino's Pizza created it's own smoking ban.

"People grumbled a bit. but the same customers still come here," said Valentino's Pizza general manager Richard Clower.

Clower, a smoker, said he the city's decision.

"One of the problems you run into here, even as a smoker, some of the establishments you're allowed to smoke in are so thick and so disgusting, like your eyes burn, and you go home, and you smell just horrible," Clower said. 

Smoking will be allowed in designated areas of bars and restaurants, such as patios. Smoking will also be allowed in retail tobacco and vapor stores.

Violating the ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor. The first offense carries a fine of $200.

Go here for more information on the smoking ban.

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