Meriden debates smoking ban in public parks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Meriden debates smoking ban in public parks

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eriden is asking their citizens to weigh in on possible ban at city parks. (WFSB file photo) eriden is asking their citizens to weigh in on possible ban at city parks. (WFSB file photo)

The results are in, and Meriden city officials say the majority of their residents don't want smoking in public parks. 

Smoking bans are already in place in 25 towns across Connecticut. Meriden residents weighed in on the topic online. 

An online survey, issued by the Department of Health and Human Resources, collected more than 500 responses. More than 60 percent said they would like to see a no tobacco rule.

"They really don't like people smoking around their kids," Meriden Director of Health & Human Services Lea Crown said. 

The survey came out after the city got a state grant to work on tobacco cessation programs in the city.

"If anything, we've had more conversations than actual survey responses with people, on the topic, the dangers of secondhand smoke, to create awareness of what a local health department does," Crown said.

Already, the department is crafting an ordinance banning smoking at all city maintained park and recreation areas.

Numbers from the survey showed 66 percent were bothered by people smoking at playgrounds and ball fields, and 87 percent were bothered by cigarette butts and tobacco litter.

Eyewitness News caught up with people enjoying the sunshine at Hubbard Park. They said they agreed a ban on smoking there is a good idea.

"As we're hiking, that's the last thing I want to smell," said Theresa DuPont, who works in Meriden.

"The park is full of trash, and anything they can do to reduce trash," said resident Jim Ferarri.

"If they leave cigarette butts all over it's nasty for the kids," said resident Rita Redican.

Officials are hoping to have the ordinance passed by the time HUB Park opens downtown, so the park can be tobacco free from the start.

The health department plans to present the ordinance to council by the end of March.

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