The ban for city-owned and -maintained private clubs, fraternal organizations and parks is being discussed by the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee.
In its July 19 meeting, the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee in Portland, Maine discussed a proposed smoking ban in city-owned and -maintained parks that would also extend to private clubs and fraternal organizations, WMTW News reported.
Smokers attended the meeting, with one contending that banning smoking outside severely limited his ability to smoke anywhere. Another argued that there are larger problems for the city than a cigarette, WMTW reported.
Janis Beitzer, executive director of a civic group, Portland’s Downtown District (PDD), expressed her support of the proposal in a letter to the committee.
“PDD supports this initiative especially, as our downtown parks are very small and second-hand smoke is unhealthy and annoying to other park users,” Beitzer wrote. “We urge the committee to vote to ban smoking in downtown parks and support a healthier initiative for all.”
State law in Maine does allow exceptions for private clubs that do not want to prohibit smoking, with a provision that includes allowing the club to vote to allow smoking for no longer than three years from the date of the vote, WMTW reported.
A local environmental group, Friends of Deering Oaks, showed support for the proposal as well.
“Open spaces are intended as respites from the urban environment and as areas for healthy recreation,” wrote Anne Pringle, the group’s president. “As natural spaces, they should be free from unhealthy elements such as smoking, pesticides, etc
The city council will have the final say on the smoking ban proposals, WMTW reported.