EUGENE, Ore. -- The city of Eugene could be expanding the no-smoking zone in the downtown core.
Currently, the city ordinance does not allow smoking within 10 feet of any public doorway or within 25 feet of the entrance to government buildings throughout Eugene. The proposed ordinance would add to those restrictions.
Staff with the city said if approved, the ordinance would add sidewalks, alleys and plazas to the existing ordinance in the downtown core, which runs from West 8th Avenue to West 11th Avenue and Lincoln Street to Pearl Street.
They said the purpose is to promote a healthier community by reducing the exposure to secondhand smoke. According to city staff, tobacco is the leading cause of death in Lane County with nearly 700 deaths a year.
KEZI spoke to a handful of Eugene residents in downtown who had mixed feelings on the proposed ordinance.
"I think it's a little ridiculous. I could understand maybe not smoking around eating areas,” Andrea Bradshaw said. “But especially for the people who work down here, going in the alley is the only place we have to go. We can't wander off out of the exclusion zone."
"To a non-smoker it's not very pleasant to have to walk through, especially groups of people smoking or walking behind someone who's smoking and constantly getting that inhalation,” Brighde Johannsen said. “So, personally I'm for it but I know there's a lot of smokers that would not like it."
If the proposed ordinance is approved, businesses could "opt out" and create designated smoking areas, and businesses outside the downtown core could "opt in."
The city council plans on holding a public hearing on the potential expansion Monday, July 16.