HILLSBOROUGH- Starting Monday July 1, you could be fined for smoking outdoors in Orange County.
Orange County Commissioners and the Board of Health approved a broad smoking ban last year. Now, following six months of preparation, officials say they’re ready to put it into full effect.
The ban prohibits smoking in almost all public outdoor places, including parks, sidewalks and bus stops. Indoor locations that are open to the public are also covered under the ban.
There are exemptions, but just a few. Smoking is still permitted in private homes, vehicles, smoke shops, cigar bars and designated hotel rooms.
The fine for public smoking is $25.00, but health department officials stress the aim of the ban is education rather than punishment.
According to the health department’s webpage, the ban is meant to improve air quality by limiting exposure to second-hand smoke and limit litter from cigarette butts.
The county health department provides information for anyone interested in quitting smoking, as well as an online form to report violations of the ban.