Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 10, 2013

Commissioner wants crack down on ash trays

State says county cigarette receptacles too close to courthouse doors.

By Carson Gerber
MC Weekly

---- — PERU — A Miami County commissioner wants a county-wide crackdown on businesses violating state code dictating where cigarette receptacles are placed, after the state issued a complaint saying the Miami County Courthouse was violating the law. Commissioner Jerry Hamman said the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission issued a complaint to the county, saying ashtrays by the courthouse were within the 8-foot prohibited smoking area by the building’s doors.“Since we had a complaint from the state, I think we need to go around to all the businesses in town with cigarette dispensers and show them the law,” he said. Hamman asked environmental health specialist Ken Scott to inspect where businesses locate their cigarette receptacles. He asked for a report by next week documenting places violating the law. Scott said he normally investigates a specific business only if there’s a complaint against it. Commissioners said they were leery, however, of issuing fines to violators. Commissioner Josh Francis said fines or penalties are left up to the person responding to the violation. “I’m a little concerned about throwing out fines for this, because some business will say, ‘Forget it. We just won’t have one at all,’” Francis said. “Then people are throwing cigarettes on the ground … I think a lot of places have tried to stick [receptacles] beneath an overhang so they’re not out in the weather.”Commissioners said they will also look at the county’s smoking ordinance, which states smoking is prohibited 25 feet from government buildings’ doors. They said they will consider changing the ordinance to mirror state code, which only has an 8-foot prohibited area around doors.Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.