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State counting on public help with smoking ban

Publication Date: 2007-09-06
  • Publication:Eagle Tribune, MA

Earlier this week, the state Department of Health and Human Services gave legislators its proposed set of laws that explains how the new statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants will be enforced. The new law goes into effect on Sept. 17.

In Massachusetts, local boards of health oversee the smoking ban. In New Hampshire, enforcement will largely be up to the state's six-member tobacco prevention team.

But that doesn't mean local officials won't have work to do. Police, local health inspectors and even the public will play crucial roles in enforcement, said Kate Frey, public health services policy administrator.

She said anyone who lights up in a nonsmoking facility will be subject to a minimum fine of $100. That fine will likely be given by local police, if they are called by a restaurant owner.

Businesses that don't comply will be fined even more. Law enforcement could cite business owners with a $100 ticket if they don't tell their patrons to comply with the law. For every day they're not in compliance after their first violation, they would receive at least a $200 fine.

"If it doesn't get resolved that way, an investigation is done by our tobacco control program," Frey said.

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