A sweeping new smoking ban goes into effect in Owensboro, Ky. today, bringing an end to the days of being able to smoke in a number of public areas as well as in city parks.
The ban was approved in early September, and significantly pushes smokers away from a number of areas. Ordinance 23-2014 creates a 25-foot no-smoking buffer between buildings and businesses that the public are invited into and where smokers may light up. Outdoor areas of restaurants are now completely smoke-free, though a business may create restricted areas where the public is not allowed for their employees, but again that area must be more than 25 feet from any door, window or ventilation system.
The ordinance does provide two exemptions, the first for bars who have been in operation as of Oct. 15 and currently allow smoking, with the caveat that food service must be an incidental part of their business. The second allows for e-cigarettes and vaping. Smoking in a private home, car or yard is also still allowed.
Fines start at $100 for the first offense, with subsequent violations within one year of the original citation carrying a $250 charge.
Owensboro is located about 100 miles southwest of Louisville, with a population of just over 58,000 people.