Smoking ordinance takes effect in Valdosta -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Smoking ordinance takes effect in Valdosta

March 1, 2004

Valdosta - Copies of the clean air ordinance have been sent to all business owners and signs are posted outside of public buildings. It's now illegal to smoke inside all public places in Valdosta. "If you don't comply, you'll be cited," said Lt. Brian Childress.

Police warn that they're on the lookout for violators. Anyone caught smoking in a public building will face the fines. "The first offense is a fine not to exceed $50, the second offense is a fine not to exceed $75," said Childress.

And its not just the smoker who'll be cited, business owners are held accountable too. "IF business owners are caught in violation, the fine is not to exceed $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense," said Childress. "After that, the fine is up to a municipal court judge."

If you think stepping outside the building gives you the clear, think again. You must be at least 25 feet from the building's front entrance to light up. "Are we going to pull our a measuring tape and check it? Maybe, I've seen it happen before but I also believe our officers have a lot of common sense and they're going to know if someone's within 25 feet," said Childress.

Police say they haven't had a problems with violations so far, but they're prepared for problems. "It's like any other new law, whether the city or state puts it out, anytime you have a new law it takes an adjustment period," said Childress.

The signs and increased police patrol will be a reminder to smokers, but those who choose to break the law should be prepared to pay the price.

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