The town of Manchester is considering expanding its no-smoking ban to include all public areas.
Lighting up in Manchester could soon become a problem if the town instates a ban outlawing smoking in public places.
The Manchester Board of Directors discussed the ban Tuesday night, with some pushing for a wider ban and others for a more narrow ordinance that would provide designated smoking areas and only ban smoking in places like parks and at public events.
“What the board is looking to do is create an environment for our residents that allows them to be smoke-free if they choose, but at the same time not be too nanny about it,” said Manchester Town Manager Scott Shanley.
Ilana Herman, who helps run the Mulberry Street bar and restaurant, thinks that's a good thing.
“In a public place, you have children, you have people who don't want to be breathing in second-hand smoke and I think it should be done in the privacy of your own car, your own home,” Herman said..
She said she's not too worried about her bottom line, even though many of her customers like to smoke when they drink.
“I think you'd have a lot of complaints, but I don't think it would kill the business. I think it would rebound just like the smoking ban in restaurants,” she said.
A smoking ban is currently in effect in some public places, such as the library area. The board will need to decide how much further a potential new ban would extend.
But not everyone is favor of the ban.
“People should have the right to walk down the street and smoke a cigarette any time they want,” said Manchester resident Joshua Pharham.
There's also the issue of how to enforce a broader ban. Manchester police say they've never issued a citation under the existing ban, but if they did, offenders would face a $75 dollar fine.
“If you have an event and you have signs up that say this is an official no-smoking zone, you can have an ordinance which would have some teeth to it,” said Shanley.
The goal is to have more official discussion soon, so that any potential new ordinance would be on the books in time for the busy spring and summer event season.
“Something needs to be done to allow for smoke-free zones for certain events in certain places. Exactly what events and what places is something the parks and recreation commission will have to discuss,” Shanley said.