Hot Sheet

Smoking, vaping ban considered on Denver’s 16th Street Mall

Author: Adam McCoy - September 11, 2017 - Updated: September 11, 2017

(iStock image / vchal)

One might experience an array of aromas when patronizing Denver’s 16th Street Mall, from appetizing restaurant fare to cigarette and marijuana smoke. City officials are considering changing that with a ban on smoking, and vaping, in the outdoor mall.

While Denver already bans smoking tobacco within 25 feet of a building entries (public marijuana use is illegal in Colorado; vaping in public is not), portions of the mall are currently free rein to smokers. But Denver City Council President Albus Brooks is floating a proposal to ban e-cigarettes, vaporizers and cigarettes within the confines of the mall for the sake of public health.

“I seek to prohibit smoking of any product including, e-cigarettes, vapes, etc,. along the 16th Street Mall,” Brooks said in a memo. “Protecting public health by prohibiting smoking along the 16th Street Mall would not only improve the quality of life for its inhabitants but also its visitors.”

Brooks’ “Breath Easy Ordinance” would make smoking in the mall a civil offense and carry a $100 fine for violations.

His memo pointed to a perception that vaping is associated with a healthy lifestyle, and how it has “re-normalized” smoking in public.

“Furthermore there is an increasing use of such devices for consuming marijuana, which makes enforcing the prohibition of public consumption of marijuana difficult,” Brooks wrote in the memo.

The memo noted there are 19 Colorado communities with smoke-free parks, 11 which ban smoking on dining patios, Denver not being one of them, and nine that ban smoking in public transit waiting areas — again no such ban in the City and County of Denver.

A smoking ban at the mall has been unsuccessfully proposed in recent years. The city is expected to begin discussion Oct. 11 in committee; the proposal should reach the City Council for a first reading by Oct. 17.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.