New law aims to snuff out Granby’s ‘Smoker’s Corner’
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, CO Colorado
GRANBY – “Smoker’s Corner” near Middle Park High School is being snuffed out with a new law that goes into effect in early June.
Granby town board members voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt a law that puts teeth in an existing law making it illegal to smoke in public if under the age of 18.
If minors are caught puffing in public, they soon could be subject to a fine from $25 to $100 and mandated to attend municipal court accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
In lieu of fines, the judge may order the defendant to attend tobacco cessation and education programs, or contribute to a charitable organization, the law reads.
Those caught giving, selling or distributing tobacco products to a minor under age 18 could face fines from $100 to $300.
It’s estimated that 10 percent of East Grand Middle School students smoke, according to East Grand Principal Jeff Ross, with a much higher percentage of high schoolers, according to Principal Jane Harmon.
In response, both schools offer programs and curriculum that aim to educate students on the dangers of smoking and help students kick the habit.
Some students in their final years of high school may not change their smoking habits because of the new law, said high school principal Harmon, but “it could change the pattern for younger students” by not “normalizing the behavior by having it visible on our street corner.
“It’s a measure to help students be safe and healthy,” she said, “and to not see that it’s OK to break the law and blow the smoke in our faces.”
Town leaders estimated that Smoker’s Corner on Christianson and Second Street has been a student tradition at least since the high school was built in the early 1980s.
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The Grand County Sheriff’s Office fielded 313 calls from June 13-19 while dispatchers answered 638 calls for all first-responder agencies in the county.