Thea Digiammerino

New Britain to Ban Smoking at Some City Properties

The New Britain Common Council has passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking on some city-owned properties.

The council said the issue is one of public health, and they’re moving to make public spaces in the city more enjoyable for everyone.

“I ask people before I light up a cigarette or if it’s okay if I smoke,” said Yvette Gilbert of New Britain.

Gilbert is a smoker who from time to time lights up outside, but she said she wouldn’t have a problem getting on board with a new city plan that prohibits smoking in many public spaces.

“It might be good,” she said. “I don’t have to have a cigarette. It’s just a habit. It’s just to have something in my hand.”

The Common Council voted Wednesday to pass an ordinance banning smoking in all Park and Recreation controlled spaces in the city. It also includes public school grounds and other designated city-owned areas.

“We’ve got this concern, people are complaining. Some parents are not happy,” said Councilmember Iris Sanchez.

Sanchez, who represents Ward 3, said the health of children and the ability of all residents to freely enjoy city spaces free of smoke are the drivers for the ordinance.

“Kids usually come and play and then they go home. But it was a lot of people smoking in the area,” Sanchez said. “We’re trying to create awareness for the people.”

The ordinance covers cigarettes, pipes, e-cigarettes, vape pens and chewing tobacco, as well as marijuana products.

At Jimmy’s Smoke Shop, where tobacco products are the main source of revenue, even the clerk said the new rule might not be so bad.

“I think it’s actually pretty good. Because for some parents. Kids don’t like to be breathing in those carcinogens and tobacco that’s in the air,” said employee Justin Filipkowski.

Exactly when the ordinance will go into effect has yet to be determined. The council and other city leadership are still working on exactly which spaces will allow smoking.

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