No Butts About It: Boise Introduces New Anti-Smoking Rules 

"I put all the ashtrays out in storage."

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Mulligans is no longer the smokiest pub in Boise. Neither is Neurolux, 10th Street Station nor nearly 30 other taverns that have had to tell customers to take their butts elsewhere--their cigarette butts, that is.

"I put all the ashtrays out in storage this morning," Mulligans bartender Katina Nelson told Citydesk on January 2. "Actually, I put about 10 of them outside in the alley. We're one of the luckier places in town because we have a back alley where people can step outside to smoke."

But smokers aren't allowed to light up in front of Mulligans or within 20 feet of the door. Boise's new anti-smoking ordinances require Mulligans, along with every other bar, restaurant and private club in Boise to be smoke-free, along with sidewalk cafes, bus stops, the Grove Plaza and Eighth Street between Main and Bannock streets.

"The best thing about the ordinance is that it's citywide," said Nelson. "I don't think we're going to lose too many customers, because it affects everyone."

But Nelson didn't soft pedal the smoking ban's impact on her customers.

"It's a little like us taking PBR [Pabst Blue Ribbon] off draft," she said with a laugh. "Yeah, it's a big deal to our customers."

Boise Police have opted to ease citizens into the new ordinances rather than begin handing out a flurry of citations. Focusing on Boise's downtown core, police have promised not to write tickets for violating the smoking ban for approximately one month. Instead they said they will "educate and warn."

After a 30-day grace period, according to a statement from Mayor Dave Bieter's office, police "will base their response to citizen complaints on the individual situation. For instance, if the person extinguishes the cigarette prior to police arrival, no enforcement action will generally be taken. If the smoker persists after a warning, however, he or she may be cited."

Smokers are also not welcome in any of Boise's public parks. Only two small designated areas of Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks have been set aside as smoking zones. On January 2, when Citydesk asked Pete Niemiec, a Parks Volunteer Patrol cyclist, about the new rules, he wasn't exactly sure where the smoking zones were (you can see them on a map), but was confident that there shouldn't be too much of an issue with compliance.

Ironically, we were standing a few feet away from one of the designated smoking areas when we spoke to Niemiec.

"I think it's a lot like the off-leash dog issue," said Niemiec. "Ninety-nine percent of the people are going to comply with it."

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