City of Harlingen begins smoking ordinance notice process

City of Harlingen begins smoking ordinance notice process
Monday, June 9, 2014 - 8:30am

City of Harlingen personnel are notifying the public about details and the upcoming implementation of amendments to the non-smoking ordinance that will take effect July 1.

According to Ordinance No. 14-20, “The purpose of this chapter is to improve and protect the public’s health by eliminating smoking in public places and places of employment, guarantee the right of nonsmokers to breathe smoke-free air, and recognize that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the choice to smoke.”

Some businesses and organizations will receive certified letters containing a copy of the ordinance and police will hand deliver the ordinance to businesses when possible. City Health Director Ramiro Gonzales, (956) 216-5222 or, will answer questions about the ordinance. The smoking ordinance is posted online at

The first reading of Ordinance No. 14-20 at the Harlingen City Commission meeting on May 21st included exemptions from smoke-free environments to fraternal organizations, private clubs and Valley Race Park. However, the final ordinance approved May 27 by the City Commission deleted the exemptions for fraternal organizations, private clubs and Valley Race Park. E-cigarettes were included in the ordinance and their use is prohibited in all places where smoking is prohibited. Additionally, the ordinance prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to any person under the age of 18 and prohibits the possession of e-cigarettes by anyone under the age of 18 in the City of Harlingen. All provisions of the amended ordinance become effective July 1, 2014.

Public places that will not be affected by the ordinance include specially designated smoking rooms in hotels and motels, retail tobacco stores and retail e-cigarette stores, golf courses between the tee of the first hole and the green of the final hole , and outdoor seating at restaurants, bars, private clubs, and VRP. The ordinance further states that no smoking will be permitted within 10 feet of entrances, operable windows or ventilation systems connected to enclosed areas.

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