Smoke-free ordinance study: Half of Chico businesses not compliant

Observations are 'disheartening'

CHICO, Calif. - The ordinance is simply stated: No smoking is permitted within 20 feet of main entrances, exits and windows --  but according to findings by the California Health Collaborative, half of the 66 Chico businesses they observed during a recent time period are not in compliance with the city-wide ordinance that went into effect January 2013.

"The results were a little disheartening," said Deanne Blankenship of the California Health Collaborative out of Chico.

The California Health Collaborative  worked with Kids Leading Everyone Against Nicotine in assembling the data. In its observations, they learned that many chain stores had ash trays right next to their front doors.  But there was other tale-tell signs of non-compliance. 

"Our observers were looking for evidence of people smoking, as we looked for cigarette butts that showed someone was smoking there," Blankenship said.  "And we looked for ashtrays within 20 feet of a front entrance."

The California Health Collaborative will give any business a sign to put in their window alerting the public about the ordinance.

"It's just like a stop sign," Blankenship said.  "Most people stop when they see a stop sign."

Another round of observations is planned for later this year.  But the California Health Collaborative doesn't want to shame a business.  Instead they hope to help these businesses be within compliance of the ordinance.

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