Ask the News - July 23


Last updated 7/22/2023 at 1:11pm

If someone is smoking or vaping in a Clovis restaurant, contrary to state law, who enforces that?

Many code violations are handled by Clovis’ Building Safety Department. But Director Pete Wilt said enforcement of New Mexico’s 2007 Dee Johnson Clean Air Act, basically prohibiting smoking in restaurants, is handled in Clovis by police.

“We would issue a citation,” CPD Deputy Police Chief Trevor Thron said.

Thron, responding by email wrote, “The following statute (section A) outlines our enforcement action if someone were caught violating the Dee Johnson Clean Air Act.”

It reads: “The local fire, police or sheriff’s department with appropriate jurisdiction over the location where a violation of the provisions of the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act occurs shall enforce that act by issuance of a citation.

“A person may register a complaint regarding an alleged violation pursuant to the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act to initiate enforcement of that act with … the local fire, police or sheriff’s department.

“The designated enforcement agencies may inspect an establishment for compliance with the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act.”

Thron pointed out the state statute does include vaping as being prohibited in public restaurants.

According to the statute “smoking” means:

Inhaling from, exhaling from, burning, carrying or holding…

n A lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, hookah or pipe.

n Any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, including cannabis, whether natural or synthetic.

n Any use of an e-cigarette that creates an aerosol or vapor.

Violation by a person 18 years of age and older, is subject to a fine not to exceed $100 for the first violation, a fine not to exceed $200 for a second violation in a 12-month period, and a fine not to exceed $500 for a third or subsequent violation within a 12-month period of the previous violation.”

“The owner, manager or operator of a premise subject to regulation shall not be subject to a penalty if a person on the premises is in violation as long as the owner, manager or operator has posted signs, implemented the appropriate policy and informed the person that he/she is in violation.”

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