A strict new smoking ban was passed in Wichita Falls, Texas, as the city council passed an ordinance that requires nearly all businesses, including bars and restaurants, to completely ban smoking within their walls.
Smoking will still be allowed in retail tobacco and electronic cigarette stores, with the city requiring that 75 percent of quarterly sales come from tobacco product and accessories in order to meet this definition. In addition, private residences are not covered unless they serve as a place of child care, adult day or health care facility.
In addition, smoking is banned within 20 feet of an entrance or open window of any business that allows anyone under 18 on the premises, smoking will be banned within five feet of any adults only business. Owners will be fined if individuals are caught smoking in the place of business.
Smoking is also banned within 20 feet of playgrounds, city-sponsored events, park pavilions, outdoor seating areas, public pools, ponds and the farmers market.
While the law goes into effect in 30 days, the ordinance does provide a two-year transition period to gives existing businesses adequate time to come into compliance, however any new business does not get to take advantage of that window. Full text of the ordinance can be found here, beginning on page 44.
Wichita Falls has a population of approximately 104,500 people and sits in the north part of Texas near the Oklahoma border, 140 miles northwest of Dallas and 140 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
Charlie Minato contributed to this report.