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Smoking ban proposed for outdoor public places

(WDAY TV) - Another controversial smoking ban is being proposed in North Dakota. Surprisingly, the devil is in the details. The wording may limit just how many places you can light up even the outdoors. WDAY 6 Reporter Travis Skonseng joins us live with more.

Smoking bans are nothing new, but this proposed idea is what some people call vague. If approved as is, smoking would no longer will be legal at public events.

"We don't want to be considered the ashtray of the upper Midwest."

Anti-smoking supporters have a new goal, to be smoke free in public places by June 2013.

"We aren't saying an outdoor ban so much, indoor workplaces, places where people gather, however outdoor arenas, some of those places.

That could mean lighting up at fairs, sporting events, and sidewalks could soon be a thing of the past.

"A total ban, a prohibition is very difficult. It hasn't worked historically."

Deede is on the committee working on the plan defining what's public and isn't and it is a tricky debate. Deede says the language is still in the works and lawmakers will play an integral role in the law's wording.

"amendments are made, compromises are made so I can't tell you exactly what the new law will be."

"I'm particularly disappointed in the fact that this is this is the only thing that they come up with."

West Fargo representative Al Weiland says on the surface the plan sounds good, but a lot of it is unknown.

"I'd like to hear from law enforcement on however we're going to enforce these rules."

Weiland says taking away such freedom in public is possible with the next legislature.

"We're seeing some evidence that the legislature is getting a little more liberal in their attitude."

As for supporters, Deede says the plan is for a common good. To keep people healthy and away from second hand smoke, even outside.

"We also know that second hand smoke is a poison and there are no safe levels of second hand smoke."

Last fall, voters approved this committee. It plans to present lawmakers with the idea in two years.

Travis Skonseng

Travis Skonseng - Travis grew up in Wahpeton, ND. He attended NDSU for Business and Psychology. After graduating, he went back to school at MSUM for a broadcasting degree.     Travis started at WDAY in May 2008. Prior to joining the WDAY team, he worked at the FOX News Station in Fargo for 4.5 years. There he did everything from behind the scenes work to fill in weather to weekend anchoring. Travis has won North Dakota and Minnesota Associated Press awards for reporting.     He co-anchors First News. Please feel free to drop an email with story ideas.

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