In the past year, at least three businesses in Waco received citations for violating the smoking ban that went into effect in January of 2016.
The revised smoking ordinance prohibits smoke inside of all enclosed public spaces and non-enclosed public spaces, such as parks and playgrounds.
"Overall people are complying, businesses for the most part are in compliance and people are used to the idea of no smoking inside," Waco-McLennan County Public Health District Environmental Health Program Administrator David Litke said.
In addition, those smoking have to do so outside and be 15 feet away from an entrance. There is an exception to the distance rule, if there is a designated smoking patio with a separate door. That door must remain closed is someone is entering or leaving that area.
Smoking is allowed at retail tobacco stores and retail electronic smoking device stores but only when sampling a product. The smoke or vapor can't cross the areas outside the store.
According to the Waco- McLennan County Public Health District, Snacks Convenience Store, A&M Smoke Shop and the smoke shop inside 811 Karaoke and Sports Bar received two citations each. This occurred in the early months of 2016 and last summer.
"There are a few things that a person and owner of a business can be in violation of but primarily it can be smoking inside, not posting signs and not removing ashtrays," Litke said.
On Monday afternoon, a customer who was playing in a gaming machine at A&M Smoke Shop was smoking a cigarette inside of the establishment. When News Channel 25 spoke with the manager on the phone who declined an on-camera interview, he said he had been out of the country for several months and planned to enforce the rule when he returned.
At Snack's, an employee who also declined to do an on camera interview said she didn't agree with the ordinance. However; she said the business was compliant and had paid for the citations.
Violations have a fine that ranges from $50 for the first violation within a year to up to $500 for three violations within a year.
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