A public hearing on a D.C. Council bill that would allow building owners to ban smoking within 25 feet of their property was held on Tuesday.

The council introduced the [Prohibition Against Selling Tobacco Products to Minors Amendment Act of 2009](http://www.scribd.com/doc/18462624/Prohibition-of-Tobacco-Products-for-ChildrenCP18?classic_ui=1) on Aug. 7. The act would also enact legislation aiming to reduce the amount of minors purchasing tobacco products.

Councilmember Phil Mendelson, the chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, introduced the bill. The legislation states that building owners will be able, but not obligated, to post signs prohibiting smoking 25 feet from the sidewalk or the width of the sidewalk.

“The restriction on smoking in front of a building is permissive,” Mendelson said. “That is, building owners would be allowed to ban smoking in front of their establishment – a distance equal to that from the front door to the curb, or 25 feet, whichever is shorter.”

The main objective of the bill, however, is to reduce the number of minors purchasing tobacco products. The bill would increase penalties for minors who purchase tobacco products and for retailers caught selling tobacco to minors.

“The goal of the proposed legislation is to limit the access of tobacco products to minors,” said Lisa Abrams, legislative counsel for the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.

Abrams added that the bill would direct vendors to prompt anyone who appears to be under the age of 27 for identification.

The bill also requires retailers to post signs warning customers of the potential dangers of smoking.

Georgetown University is committed to maintaining a relatively smoke-free atmosphere on campus, according to Director of Media Relations Andy Pino.

“We are committed to maintaining an environment that is reasonably free from tobacco smoke,” Pino said. “The university prohibits smoking in all indoor locations on campus, and we’ll obviously comply with the legislation should it become law.”

According to the American Lung Association, all states except Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming have banned smoking from most public places. All states define a minor as someone under 18 years old, except for Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, and Utah, which define a minor as someone under 19 years old.

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