Town leaders discuss expanding 'smoke free' areas - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Town leaders discuss expanding 'smoke free' areas

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Hamden leaders are looking to expand the smoke-free areas in town (WFSB) Hamden leaders are looking to expand the smoke-free areas in town (WFSB)

Anyone looking to light up a cigar or cigarette in Hamden may soon have limited options.

Last summer, Hamden instituted a smoke-free plan, making parks, playgrounds, and schools tobacco free.

Less than a year after the rule went into effect, the town is looking at adding even more town-owned properties.

On Monday evening, the Hamden Town Council discussed expanding its public smoking ban.

"We covered the parks last year, which went well, but there are a couple of loophole areas that weren't covered,” said Hamden Mayor Curt Leng.

Enjoying a day at the playground, Lisa Desfosses loves the park and the fact that it's smoke-free, but the same can't be said for the nearby picnic tables and the parking lot, but that could soon change.

"We actually just had lunch on a picnic table right outside this park and a guy sat down at a picnic table, he was super friendly but he was smoking, and my kids started asking all different kinds of questions,” Desfosses said.

Under the new proposal, some of the areas being considered would include the outside of town buildings, like the town government center or the Keefe Community Center.

"Town buildings, people coming in to pay taxes, people coming in to get a permit, shouldn't have to go through second-hand smoke if they don't want to,” Leng said.

Other places would be the spot where the popular farmer's market sets up each summer and fall, pocket parks like Eli Park on Whitney Avenue and Davis Street. 

BC Patel, who owns Hamden News and Cigars, doesn't think it will impact business, after all, he says people are still smoking.

He understands public buildings but isn't a fan of outlawing smoking outdoors. 

Still, Hamden’s mayor argues it’s a health issue, one that has some teeth and could be getting some more if this passes, but he admits the town isn't looking to hand out $100 fines.

“The fine is there ultimately a police officer comes up to you and says you have to move and someone says forget it. But they idea is a deterrent, it’s there as a tool if you need to,” Leng said.

The town council didn't make a decision on Monday night.

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