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Proposed Smoking Ban Attracts Mixed Reaction On 16th Street Mall

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - An ordinance to ban smoking on Denver's 16th Street Mall has been passed out of a committee and headed to the full city council for a first reading later this month.

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CBS4's Rick Sallinger talks with a smoker on the 16th Street Mall. (credit: CBS)

You might expect smokers to be against a ban. One woman who smokes along the mall gave a surprising answer.

"I think it's a great idea," she said. CBS4 reporter Rick Sallinger pointed to the cigarette she had lit in her hand, and she responded, "Yeah, but it's a horrible habit."

Nearby a man wearing sunglasses while smoking expressed his displeasure with the proposed ordinance.

"I'm outside if they don't like it they can go somewhere else," he said.

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(credit: CBS)

The ordinance would ban not only cigarette and cigar smoking on the mall, but vaping too.

Using pot in public is already against the law.

"What are you smoking?" Sallinger asked a young man. "Marijuana," he answered, "It's not illegal. It's just unjust," he added, although incorrectly.

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(credit: CBS)

Concerns have been expressed that the homeless could be hit the hardest. City Council President Albus Brooks, who is sponsoring the measure, disagrees.

"I met with homeless providers to make sure it wasn't not discriminatory," Brooks said.

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Denver City Council President Albus Brooks (credit: CBS)

The punishment would involve a fine, but not criminal penalty.

A group of people near Skyline Park, including some without homes, were not happy.

"I think they are just looking for reason to put people in jail. If you can't pay ticket, then obviously you will go to jail," said one woman.

But some like one food vendor in the area are all in on a ban.

"It's like dude I'm trying to entice people here to eat food and you're sitting here smoking a butt. Gross," he said.

It's fair to say, if passed it might get a lot of people off the mall.

RELATED: Comment Heard On Proposed 16th Street Mall Smoking Ban

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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