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News Summary

Health Department aims for education on new ban

Publication Date: 3/30/2005
  • Author:Scott Mayerowitz
  • Publication:Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin
The state Department of Health has received 70 complaints about businesses where smoking is alleged to have occurred during the first four weeks of the new smoking ban.

The vast majority of the complaints -- 63 of them -- have been informal phone calls to the department. The remaining several were formal, signed complaints.

The department has sent informal letters to the 63 establishments with the phone complaints, informing them of the law and a patron's concern. For the other seven, in which people had signed a document detailing the time and place of the alleged infraction, the department sent out a formal notice.

Once a second signed complaint is filed, the local city or town solicitor is required to prosecute in municipal court. Businesses -- not the smokers -- are fined. The fines are $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second and $1,000 for each subsequent violation. Each day of a violation counts as a separate offense.