Clean air act protects Utahns from undesired smoke

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Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 - 12:00am

Smoking is considered a dangerous habit by the vast majority of Americans and is restricted in many public areas, a fact the people at the College of Eastern Utah Health Department like to see enforced. Due to Utah Indoor Clean Air act, smoking is restricted within 25 feet of public entrances, but some people seem to still be smoking right outside of the doorways. "Some of the smokers have got the hint with moving the ash tray. There are still a lot of cigarette butts right outside the door [College Center] though within 10-15 feet," says nursing instructor Kimball Johnson.

Recently the Health Department has been receiving many complaints of people smoking right outside of the doors.  

ATOD director Mandee Kranjc says " We get even more complaints in the winter, because of the cold, people will smoke near the doorway."

When measured, the ashtrays outside of the doorways are at least 5 to 10 feet outside of the doorways, which prompts many of the students or faculty who smoke to do it within 25 feet and are breaking the law.   Currently Kranjc and other tobacco coordinators are doing an assessment on the campus about revising the policy, education, putting more anti-smoking signs on the doorways and helping in other ways to make cigarette smoking less of an issue.

In general, "smoking is prohibited in all enclosed indoor places of public access and privately owned buildings and offices ... " according to Utah Code 26-38-3. Employers must develop employee smoking policies that prohibit smoking within 25 feet of any entrance way, exit, open window, or air intake of buildings and designated outdoor smoking permitted areas are not allowed within 25 feet of any entrance way, exit, open window or air intake of buildings, as interpreted in the Utah Administrative Rule 392-510-9.

The present Utah Indoor Clean Air Act has been in effect since May 1, 2006 and amends the previous January 1995 law.   The Act is designed to protect Utahns and visitors to the state from exposure to the harmful effects of environmental tobacco smoke (commonly called second-hand smoke).

In general, "Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed indoor places of public access and publicly owned buildings and offices, ... " UC 26-38-3(1).     Besides the statute, an administrative rule, Rule 392-510, has been promulgated for the Act. The Rule contains more operationally-oriented requirements in order to comply with the UICAA.

Smoking may be allowed in such places as private clubs, taverns, private functions and places where the general public is excluded. Most Utah Lodging facilities have smoking rooms available and the Salt Lake International Airport has designated smoking areas in the respective terminals. When in doubt about whether or not to light up, it is probably best to ask about the location's policy.

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