It’s hard to believe- but our Smoke Free Arizona program turned 5 this month. Voters approved the Act back in November of ’06 by a few percentage points. The Initiative language gave us a super-short turn-around time (just like medical marijuana)… and we turned the key on the program by May of ’07. Implementation of the Initiative was smooth from the get-go and compliance with the voter approved law has been very good- as you can see in our most recent Annual Report. But how come?
If you remember back to the election of ’06- a group ran a ballot initiative called Proposition 206 to compete with the Smoke Free AZ Act (or Proposition 201). Prop 206 would have prohibited smoking in some indoor places but would have allowed smoking to continue in bars and some restaurants. 206 lost and 201 won. The key to smooth implementation came next- in our Rulemaking process.
The first thing we did was to contact the folks involved with both campaigns to get a feel for what we needed to do to get smooth implementation. I basically asked the 206 folks what they needed in order for them to support our implementation and to encourage compliance with their association members. They said that if we had a fair “patio“ policy they’d be in. So that’s what we did. We put together what we think are reasonable criteria for smoking on patios and a fair compliance system. The result? An almost controversy-free implementation and effective broad compliance.
Working well with others really is the most important grade you ever get in school.