Charleston making hospital area no smoking zone

Mayor Riley shows the area affected in a meeting held in December (File/WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - The City of Charleston is imposing a new smoking ban for outdoor areas in the city's hospital district.

Beginning March 1, people will not be able to smoke on streets, sidewalks and even in parked cars in the area around the Medical University of South Carolina and the Roper-St. Francis Hospital.

The ban was approved by city council Tuesday night. It will be enforced by hospital security staffs. Violations carry a $25 fine. People will be able to smoke in cars, as long as the cars are moving.

Supporters of the ban say it's designed so hospital patients don't have to walk through smoke-filled areas to get to their doctors. Opponents call it as an infringement on personal freedom.