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WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 27, 2012, 09:21 PM

Smoking ban will stop people from smoking in outdoor shacks

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Several local bars say North Dakota's smoking ban is costing them thousands of dollars. Many have spent money building smoking shacks outside for customers but those shacks will be illegal, starting early next month.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Several local bars say North Dakota's smoking ban is costing them thousands of dollars. Many have spent money building smoking shacks outside for customers but those shacks will be illegal, starting early next month.

This smoking area next to Chub's Pub was built four years ago after Fargo passed a city ordinance prohibiting smoking inside all bars. But the use of this 50-thousand dollar addition will soon be banned after voters passed a statewide smoking measure earlier this month.

And people who put money into projects like this one aren't too happy.

Jason Ramstad/Chub's General Manager: "One of the primary purposes of that was to keep our smokers safe, out of the way of traffic, warm and kind of in the same area."

Chub's Pub is one of many Fargo bars that built a smoking shack nearby.

Businesses lining Broadway like the Empire and Bismarck have them too.

But beginning December 6th, smokers won't be allowed to light up inside.

Rather, they'll have to move at least 20 feet away from bar doors and windows, to a spot that's well beyond these structures.

Brad Wimmer/Fargo City Commissioner: "They'll have to change the venue for those, tear them down, find another use for them. But it doesn't appear that they're going to meet the code."

Ramstad:"They were safe from traffic, they were safe from possible incidents happening. So there might be some new challenges with that but just like any other business we'll have to adapt to it."

Bar owners will also have more clean up, as cigarette butts will be spread out instead of piling up in appropriate containers.

Ramstad: "it's nice to keep the smokers in the same place for the litter. It wasn't strewn out in the whole parking lot."

They aren't the only ones affected. Anyone hoping to get a puff while walking along downtown streets may have a problem, as it will be hard to find a spot far enough away from establishments. Making most of crowded streets like Broadway off limits.

Wimmer: "The reasonable answer is going to be your vehicle, it's going to be off in a corner somewhere. I'm trying to really, in my own mind, trying to see where are these people going to go."

Ramstad: Right now I think they might think they're getting a raw deal but I'm sure they'll adapt the best they can and we'll all adapt to it cause that's what we're going to have to do."

If smokers fail to abide by the rules, they could see fines of 50 dollars.

And for business owners who allow smoking in prohibited areas, they'll have to pay at least 100 dollars and could even get their liquor license revoked.

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