While smoking will no longer be allowed in “public pedestrian plazas” in Houston, the cost of getting caught smoking where its illegal has been significantly reduced.
The Houston City Council approved an expansion of the city’s smoking ban to cover public streets that are closed off to cars, known as “public pedestrian plazas,” affecting Main Street Square, a portion of Dunlavy Street and Walker Street. Smoking anything combustible or from plant materials is now illegal, although the City Council admitted that its not actually enforceable until signs go up.
In addition, the City Council reduced the maximum fine for smoking from $2,000 to $500.
The expanded ban, which passed the 14-member council 10-3 with one member absent, is only a small part of expansions the city council has debated, which have gone as far to outlawing smoking at all bars and restaurants, parks, outdoor sports arenas and stadiums.
Smoking at public pools, golf courses and “developed park facilities” was banned in Houston in September by the City’s Parks Director.
Houston is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. with 2.2 million residents in the city limits and over six million in the Houston Metro Area.