Lebanon smoking ban to take effect in July - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lebanon smoking ban to take effect in July

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Lebanon, New Hampshire is following the lead of other communities by banning smoking in designated public spaces.  

Scattered throughout the City of Lebanon it's not uncommon to spot cigarette smokers and the butts they leave behind. 

"Both residents and visitors from all over are coming through our front doors, and they are walking through what feels like an ashtray a lot of times," said Ben Coats, Lebanon's Recreation & Parks Director.

Coats has led a task force to ban smoking in certain public areas, and the city council approved the measure which begins July 1st.  

"The effects for second hand smoke, even third hand smoke, are well documented," Coats said.

Outside City Hall, in the downtown park, at Storrs Hills, and in front of public libraries will all be smoke-free zones. Fines start at $25 and double with multiple offenses.

Non-smokers, like David Ashey of Lebanon, say the ban is a long time coming. "I'm all for it.  I think it is a good idea," he said. "I mean I'm all for live free or die, do what you want to do as long as it is legal, but it just affects people. It does. It is proven."

And most smokers seemed to agree as well. "I think it would be good.  Maybe they could put ashtrays there or something," said James Lapre of Canaan.

Designated smoking areas will be created throughout the city, but trash can receptacles will for the most part be going away.   

"As long as I don't have to walk like two miles to get tot the nearest smoking spot I would be good with it," Lapre said.

"It was really in response to complaints that we received from citizens," said Karen Liot Hill, a member of the Lebanon City Council.

The city is still working to map out places where smoking will be allowed, but officials say they will be in areas without a lot of foot traffic.   

"I think it is safe to say that the ashtrays are not going to be everywhere all along the mall," Liot Hill said.  

Those behind the ordinance say they are not out to punish smokers, but rather protect those who don't.  They say education will be a huge component and the fines will largely target repeat offenders who choose not to follow the rules.  

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