No smoking near Meriden city-owned buildings - WFSB 3 Connecticut

No smoking near Meriden city-owned buildings

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An ordinance approved in Meriden bans smoking near city-owned and leased buildings. (WFSB) An ordinance approved in Meriden bans smoking near city-owned and leased buildings. (WFSB)

Smokers beware.

There will be no lighting up within 25 feet of a city-owned or leased building after the city council green-lighted an ordinance.

"I think as a society we have become more healthy in terms of our lifestyles, and it shows that the government is keeping up with the trend," said Joseph Elder of Windsor.

The ordinance bans smoking within 25 feet of doors, windows and air intakes of city buildings such as the police and fire departments and City Hall.

City officials said the ban is in the interest of public health.

"I understand, with all the dangers of smoking, non-smokers feelings and health are important as well," said Kimberly Bowen of Wallingford.

Smokers and non-smokers who spoke with Eyewitness News, called it a step in the right direction, given the well-documented health effects of second-hand smoke.

People said it's not much of an imposition since most public spaces have smoking restrictions.

"Wherever you go, there's usually a designated smoking area," Bowen said. "So I can appreciate that."   

"The ordinance doesn't prohibit smoking," Elder said. "It just puts it in a place where it doesn't affect people who are non-smokers, so I think it protects the rights of both."

The ban goes into effect once the public works department can hang up signs about it. The signs were being created this week.

According to Mayor Ken Scarpati's office, a warning will be issued to violators for the first offense. After that, fines of $25, $50 and $99 can be issued for following offenses.

Meriden police will have the authority to issue citations.

"The goal of the ordinance is not to police people, but to create more tobacco-free spaces in Meriden that promotes the public health," Scarpati said. "It supports those looking to quit and makes the healthy choice the easy choice. It gives thecCity the authority and our residents the ability to say 'no, you may not smoke in this area' to those who are violating this ordinance."

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