Starting New Year's Day, smokers will have fewer places to light up in Lexington County.
A long-delayed smoking ban will take effect in all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, in unincorporated parts of the county as well as in the towns of Springdale and Pine Ridge.
The town of Lexington imposed the county's toughest ban in October 2008.
Here are 3 questions about the ban:
Are there exceptions?
- Outdoor smoking decks at restaurants or bars. (The town of Lexington prohibits smoking decks).
- Private clubs that have a federal tax exemption, are not for-profit operations and serve alcohol only as an incidental part of their function
- In designated smoking rooms at hotels or motels
- In religious ceremonies where smoking is part of a ritual
- Retail tobacco stores
How will bans be enforced?
As in most places where bans have been adopted, including Richland County and Columbia, enforcement is left largely to people who file complaints. The penalty for lighting up is $25 per day in the county, in Springdale and Pine Ridge.
In which towns may I still light up legally?
West Columbia, Cayce and Irmo are among the county's biggest municipalities where smoking is not restricted in private businesses. Those towns either have rejected bans or not held an up-or-down vote. Ban proponents said they will keep pushing a ban.
South Congaree, Batesburg-Leesville, Pelion, Gaston, Swansea and Gilbert are among towns where smokers may continue to light up.
- Clif LeBlanc