Durham County looks for smoking ban to be educational

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – CBS North Carolina caught several people Monday taking a break from work in Durham to have a smoke.

“It’s my little getaway,” said Tory Mosby. “I like to be able to come out and have that. It’s a vice.”

UPDATE: Durham County leaders approve change to county smoking ban

But, Mosby didn’t know she was violating a county ordinance.

It’s a ban that was put in place in 2012, prohibiting people from smoking cigarettes on public property.

“Something like smoking, something that’s so common, is like, I don’t really understand how putting a ban on that is going to be effective,” said Mosby.

Durham County commissioner Chair Wendy Jacobs says it’s a ban many people don’t know about.

“We need to improve getting the word out about the ordinance and improve signage,” said Jacobs.

The revision to the ban, that is expected to pass Monday night, will allow more non-smoking signs to go up throughout the county, and ban e-cigarettes in every public place, including sidewalks and bus stops, in the county.

Smokers are not aware they’re doing anything wrong.

We asked Jacobs how would this ban be enforced.

“I don’t think the intent is to be punitive,” she responded. “We don’t want to go around giving people tickets for smoking. We want the emphasis to be on education, awareness.”

The city that once had a big history in tobacco, is now hoping to see an end to it.

“I understand people maybe not wanting you to smoke in store fronts, or smoke in front of buildings, but I feel like if you’re in an open enough area, and you can be away from people with that, then who am I really bothering by it,” said Mosby.

Council leaders are working on a proposal to pay for signs to raise awareness.

Jacobs says they’ll need several thousand to post throughout the county.

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