Smokers still smoking in public despite Smoke-Free Lufkin Ordinance

Smokers still smoking in public despite Smoke-Free Lufkin Ordinance

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's been about a year and a half since the City of Lufkin went smoke-free, but there are still quite a few people lighting up in public.

In fact, East Texas News saw many ash trays outside downtown businesses as well as people smoking in no-smoking zones. So how is Smoke-Free Lufkin really going?

Driving through downtown Lufkin there are quite a few people that are still smoking outside of businesses even though the City of Lufkin has been smoke-free for 18 months.

"Lufkin is kind of on the cutting edge. We're one of the larger cities in Texas that has gone smoke free successfully," said Sharon Kruk, the tobacco prevention & control Program coordinator for The Coalition.

The city ordinance states that there is no smoking of any kind, including e-cigs, within 25 feet of the entrance to businesses. However, there are still many ashtrays right outside front doors and several with no-smoking signs nearby.

Kruk said she thinks a lot of the continued public smoking is simply due to lack of people knowing about the ordinance. She's even encountered a few people smoking in smoke-free zones.

"One was a person from out of town. Didn't realize that we had a smoke free ordinance in effect and I just casually mentioned it to him, 'Did you realize that we are a smoke free community?' He did not and he was more than happy to put out his cigarette," Kruk said.

She also saw someone smoking on a patio at a local business,. When she told the manager, the customer put it out without any issues.

"It's just I think making people aren't aware that the ordinance is in effect, and if they're not aware, asking them to put it out or just asking for a manager or asking somebody else to help you do that," Kruk said.

Kruk said a smoke-free Lufkin was a step in the right direction, but she said she hopes that as more people learn about the effects, of smoking the city won't have to worry about the harmful smoke or unsightly ashtrays.

The Lufkin Police Department said they have issued seven citations, two formal warnings, and numerous verbal warnings for smoking violations.

Violators could face a $50 fine if found smoking in a no-smoking zone. The Coalition will be passing out new no-smoking decals with the updated ordinance to local businesses on November 20, The Great American Smoke Out Day.

The decals will be free.

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