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Partial Smoking Ban Approved For New London Parks

Council votes 6-1 to approve ordinance that allows smoking in designated zones, exempts waterfront parks

The City Council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to enact an anti-smoking ordinance for New London’s parks, although the decision does not ban smoking outright and exempts several areas.

The approved document made significant cuts to the , chair of the Public Welfare Committee. In a meeting prior to the City Council vote, the committee removed a section on forbidding smoking within 30 feet of the entrances of municipal buildings, restricted smoking to “designated smoking areas” in parks, and exempted beach and waterfront sites from the rules.

The ban in parks and around municipal entrances was by ACHIEVE New London and the New London Community and Campus Coalition, organizations that promote healthy behaviors and the prevention of substance abuse in youth. The organizations said the ordinance would get rid of the danger of secondhand smoke in the parks, eliminate cigarette litter, and send a message that the city cares about the health of its residents.

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Committee members and councilors previously expressed concerns about a number of issues, including whether the 30-foot zone around city entrances would infringe on neighboring properties. A stipulation preventing the use of chewing tobacco was removed. Councilor Anthony Nolan said he thought designated smoking zones should go into effect to prevent smoking near recreational areas and other places frequented by children, with the possibility of expanded “no smoking” areas or a full-scale ban at a later date.

The committee voted to strengthen a section of the ordinance on no smoking signs, requiring the to put the signs up instead of recommending it. The signs will let visitors know about the ordinance as well as the $49 fine for each violation.

“If it’s not posted, then they’re not aware of what they’re being handed a ticket for,” said Council President Pro Tempore Wade Hyslop.

The committee also asked David Sugrue, general manager of , if he had an opinion on a smoking ban. Sugrue said he is not in favor of smoking at the beach but that he would not want to alienate visitors. Hyslop said visitors could also be discouraged if a smoking area at the beach was established too far from the shore. When he asked Sugrue if he thought a smoking ban was a good idea, Sugrue replied, “Not at this time, no.”

The response prompted Nolan to amend the ordinance to remove beach properties from the ordinance’s stipulation for the time being. These include Green’s Harbor Beach, Ocean Beach Park, , and .

The amendment led to a heated dispute between Nolan and Councilor John Maynard, the ordinance’s sole opponent, when the ordinance went before the full council. Maynard questioned why the ordinance would not apply to Green’s Harbor Beach but would apply to nearby , saying more children visit the beach.

“If we’re going to eliminate anything it should be the beach and not the park,” he said.

Nolan said the decision stemmed from the idea that people would be allowed to walk and smoke along the beach and invited Maynard to make an amendment regarding Green’s Harbor Beach and Green Harbor Park. Maynard took offense when Nolan asked him to specify the beach and park in this amendment.

“What were we just discussing? Are you that slow?” asked Maynard.

Maynard later apologized for the remark.

“That didn’t come out the way I intended,” he said. “I know you’re not slow. I know you’re very intelligent.”

Councilor Don Macrino said he thought the ordinance would be “impossible to enforce.” However, he considered that it may help to curtail smoking when children are present in the parks.

Opponents have said the ordinance would be difficult to enforce and infringe on personal liberties. The Parks and Recreation Commission supported a smoking ban for city parks in 2010, but the measure in the Education, Parks and Recreation Committee.

The ordinance goes into effect in 90 days.

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Wayne Vendetto September 05, 2012 at 11:13 AM
How much will it cost for signage and Public Work manpower?. Complete waste of money for an unenforceable ordinance.
Tony Mollica September 05, 2012 at 11:23 AM
The New London Community & Campus Coalition (NLCCC) will pay for signage.
Debbie September 05, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Post a sign at each city owned property and make note "WE CAN NOT ENFORCE IT AT THIS TIME"
William MacDonald September 05, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Sure beats talking about what's going on with getting our fair share of property taxes from EB or following up on lost bond monies...
Clark van der Lyke September 05, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Right Wayne. Students are good at making signs, but not so good at drafting ordinances. I quit smoking cold in 1980. I avoid places where you can smoke and will often remind people that they are smoking in non-smoking areas. But, to think that anyone would be able to patrol the beaches is fantasy land. How about we just stop making cigarettes? Chewing tobacco? This product causes mouth, tongue and lip cancer, but ball players seem to think it enhances their image. That would be harder to enforce unless police were given spit testing kits. The city code book has hundreds of unenforceable or unenforced ordinances and now we have another one. I hope the free signs will be nice. Made of what, how many and who decides where they will be put?
Clark van der Lyke September 05, 2012 at 12:55 PM
One of my favorite unenforceable ordinances is the one that prohibits using foul language in public. As a diverse community, we probably now have a hundred languages being spoken. This old ordinance probably assumed English words would be used. I know a couple of bad words in Italian, Spanish and even German. But, if you curse at me in Korean or a Chinese dialect, I probably won't understand what you are saying enough to make a complaint. NLCC should be let loose on this problem.
William MacDonald September 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Bet they won't use stainless steel bolts to affix the signs... Then, the bolts will rust and ruin the signs - happens all the time in NL.
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Perhaps The New London Community & Campus Coalition (NLCCC) should be investigated for possibly violating Federal laws on grants and for violation of IRS laws regarding lobbying for legislation. It seems many of these local groups are guilty of these violations and are well aware they are in violation as the CDC,HHS etc have been pushing them to break those laws using the same grant moneys issued!
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM
According to IRS rules "no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation... An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation." http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Federal Grants May Have Illegally Funded Lobbying Activities Federal funds may have illegally supported state and local lobbying efforts as part of a “prevention and wellness” program by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to HHS’s Inspector General. The IG noted that possibility in a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who first raised concerns about the program. “Grantees may have violated a series of anti-lobbying statutes,” the IG found. Statements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which administered the program, “appear to authorize, or even encourage, grantees to use grant funds for impermissible lobbying,” the IG added. The CDC program awards grants to states to reduce smoking and obesity. Those grants cannot be used to lobby state or local legislatures, but the IG’s office found “numerous examples of activities that, on their face, may violate anti-lobbying provisions.” The IG notes that while state and local efforts may have included lobbying, federal funds did not necessarily go towards those specific activities. But descriptions of some of the state and local activities at issue suggest at least an intention to misuse federal funds (if unwittingly). http://blog.heritage.org/2012/07/10/federal-grants-may-have-illegally-funded-lobbying-activities/
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger Written By: Jerome Arnett, Jr., M.D. Published In: Environment & Climate News Publication Date: July 1, 2008 Publisher: http://www.heartland .org/policybot/resul ts/23399/Scientific_ Evidence_Sho... myth-of-second-hand- smoke http://yourdoctorsor ders.com/2009/01/the -myth-of-second-hand -smoke BS Alert: The 'third-hand smoke' hoax http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-louisville/bs-alert-the-third-hand-smoke-hoax The thirdhand smoke scam http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2010/02/thirdhand-smoke-scam.html Heart attacks Frauds and Myths.. http://www.spiked-on line.com/index.php/s ite/article/7451/ TobaccoControl Tactics TCTactics aims to provide up-to-date information on the Tobacco Control Industry, its allies and those promoting the extremist anti-tobacco agenda that no longer targets just tobacco but ordinary adult consumers who use it. The website explores how this industry – with support from the pharmaceutical nicotine producers and government tax funds – influences and often distorts public health debates, using a whole raft of lobbying, public relations tactics and junk science. http://tctactics.org/index.php/Main_Page
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM
They make excellent canvasses for grafitti artists! Or Redneck target practice!
NewLondonSource September 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
"This product causes mouth, tongue and lip cancer," Clark - There are many other seemingly benign products that cause cancer, but have not been as villified as tobacco. How about hot dogs, doughnuts or french fries, for example? I'm not a smoker, nor do I dip, but what your suggesting impinges on constitutional rights; Good for you for taking the steps to quit, just don't expect everyone else to see it your way - even if it is healthier.
john davidson September 05, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I wouldnt lay much thought to their claims of cancer causing as its never been proven! JOINT STATEMENT ON THE RE-ASSESSMENT OF THE TOXICOLOGICAL TESTING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS" 7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18 November 2004. cot.food.gov.uk/pdfs/tox201208.pdf "5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke - induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease." In other words ... our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can't even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact ... we don't even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does. The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.
RICHARD G September 05, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I GO TO OCEAN BEACH ALL THE TIME !!!!!!!!!! WHEN I LAY ON THE BEACH AND I SMELL CIGARETTE SMOKE INSTEAD OF SALTY AIR, I WANT TO PULL MY HAIR OUT, EXCEPT, I DON'T HAVE ANY !!
Wayne Vendetto September 05, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Richard, that is nothing new. Cigarettes, have been around longer than Ocean Beach. Why is this all of a sudden an issue? I doubt anyone has ever sat on Ocean Beach, and smelled only salt air, unless it is winter.
Wayne Vendetto September 05, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Will the NLCCC, also pay for the installation of these signs? May not seem like a big deal, but we cant even get the lawns of our municipal buildings mowed. Who sits on the board of the NLCCC, and what towns do they reside in?
Clark van der Lyke September 05, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I almost would rather get a whiff of tobacco at the beach than the cove at low tide. But I suppose is is organic and a "healthy smell." Like the farmers use to say about the barnyard.
Clark van der Lyke September 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM
it is I mean...
RICHARD G September 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Yes, Wayne and Clark, cigarettes have been around forever, but it's NOW time to abolish them from the beach. I quit smoking along time ago, and now I can't stand the smell of them, let alone at the beach. Wayne, I don't lay down in the sand at the cove. I sun myself right in front of the rocks at Ocean Beach, where all the other locals do.

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