Kids take on the fight against smoking in Vergennes
VERGENNES, Vt. -
Smoking in the little city of Vergennesmay no longer be allowed if a group of eighth-graders has anything to do with it.
The community green in Vergennes is quaint and peaceful, but littered with cigarette butts, and that's irking some eighth-grade students.
"It kind of bothers me going out and seeing everyone smoking and having to breath it in and stuff. I really want it to stop," said Lexi Brace, an eighth-grader at VergennesUnionMiddle School. She and fellow eighth-graders of Vergennes Kids Against Tobacco want to snuff out smoking in public places.
"Second-hand smoke is not healthy for anyone," said one student in his address to the City Council. "If there is an event on the City Green, smoking bothers everyone and makes it hard to enjoy the event," Brace explained in her address.
Tuesday night was a culmination of months of research and drafting, as the kids presented an ordinance proposal to the City Council. They asked for a ban not only on smoking on the City Green, but also at the public swimming pool, a popular place in the summer that's right next to a school.
"I don't usually go to the pool, but when I do I see people outside who drop their kids off and just stand out there and smoke," explained group member Caroline Johnston.
And their hard work may pay off. The proposal sparked interest from the mayor himself.
"I'm frankly very impressed with what you guys have done and would like to thank you for bringing it to our attention," said Mayor Bill Benton as he addressed the students. He also said he plans to form an investigative committee to look into the matter and has asked the students to join.
"This will probably take a little bit of time just because it needs to work its way through and to make sure whatever ordinance we do have and vote on, that everybody agrees it's reasonable and practical for the city of Vergennes," he explained.
The students say they hope the ordinance could be passed before the big Memorial Day festivities that take place on the green, but Benton says he's not sure how yet if and when a vote will take place.
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