The Public Welfare Committee is seeking public input on a proposal to ban smoking in city parks as well as within 30 feet of the entrances of municipal buildings.
The proposal has been put forth by ACHIEVE New London, an organization promoting improved health in the city, as well as the New London Community and Campus Coalition, which aims to prevent substance abuse among the city’s youth. The groups say over 500 municipalities across the country have adopted similar ordinances.
The organizations say tobacco-free policies go hand in hand with promoting New London’s parks as areas for healthy activities. They also say a ban would eliminate the danger of secondhand smoke as well as cigarette litter in municipal areas while sending a message that the city cares about the health of its residents.
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The ban would include areas around municipal buildings, beaches, playgrounds, and parks. The policy would be posted at these sites, and violators of the policy would not be fined but would be asked to stop smoking or leave the premises.
The Parks and Recreation Commission supported a no smoking policy for New London parks in September of 2010. However, the measure before the City Council’s Education, Parks and Recreation Committee last July. Opponents said they felt a smoking ban would infringe on personal liberties.
Councilor Adam Sprecace said he supported the smoking ban for parks, but wanted to be sure that a 30-foot radius from municipal building entrances would not extend to other properties. Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop said the ordinance should make clear that the ban would apply to municipal buildings only.
The Public Welfare Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the issue at 6 p.m. on July 9 at .