The city of Trenton in New Jersey plans to have another try in fighting with smoking in parks by adopting a smoke-free ordinance.
The City Council meeting is sheduled for Thursday. There would be discussed an ordinance banning use of cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes in city parks and city facilities, recreational zones, and inside city vehicles.
In 2013 there was a try to adopt similar legislation, and another try was at the beginning of the current year. But the last time the law was not adopted because Council needed more discussions on the law enforcement.
It is planned to place signs in smoke-free areas to inform people about the ban. The responsability for ordinance enforcement would take the city’s health department.
People violating the law would have to pay fines $50 – $100 for the first violation, $100 – $200 for the second offense and $200 – $500 for each next offense.
Survey conducted last year revealed that 73% support the idea of smoke-free public parks. The author of the survey is Barbara Sprechman, prevention coalition coordinator at Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. She says that the smoke-free ordinance came right in time and in future more smoke-free places would appear.
She explains that there will be self-enforcement of the law and people would not light up in places where smoke-free signs are installed. The police would not be occupied with the enforcement because it has more serious things to do.
Sprechman believes that with smoke-free ordinance there would be changed people’s attitude towards smoking and it would no longer be considered a norm in the society. It would especially be beneficial for kids as they would see less smoking people.
The smoking ban would help to reduce secondhand smoke exposure and remove litter from cigarettes in parks.