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Lewisboro May Ban Smoking In Town Parks

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Lewisboro’s town parks and playgrounds may soon be smoke-free.

The Town Board heard a presentation from Makeda James of POWR (Putnam, Orange, Westchester, Rockland counties) Against Tobacco at its meeting last week, in which she detailed the benefits of such a move.

“POWR Against Tobacco works with all those counties to promote clean air and to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors,” said Councilman Peter DeLucia. “They have a lot of initiatives. Right now, 180 towns have passed laws against tobacco use in recreational areas.”

DeLucia said he was approached by the organization and asked if James could make the presentation to the Town Board.

“They wanted to know if Lewisboro would be interested in clean air at playgrounds and places like that,” he said.

If the measure is adopted, it would apply to places such as town parks, public playgrounds and swimming pools.

DeLucia noted that the Town of Bedford recently passed a law banning smoking in its parks.

The councilman said the board didn’t want to come across as intrusive and “anti-everything,” but said it wanted to examine “sensible legislation” that it could enact. He said if such a law is passed, the town would create designated smoking areas in its parks.

“We are not looking to legislate everything out of existence.  We are not the smoking police. We would see what would fit and what is right for Lewisboro,” he said. “We would look for an area where people could smoke and would want the proper receptacles for the butts.”

DeLucia said cigarette butts are just as much of a problem as the smoke.

“It’s their lack of biodegradability,” he said. “They’re hazardous to the wildlife and the environment.”

On Friday afternoon, Will Donovan, 18, a recent John Jay grad, was in the Town Park with a friend to do some skateboarding. He shrugged off the smoking ban, saying he didn’t smoke.

“I don’t think it’s such a big deal,” he said. “It’s not a bad idea though. It is kind of gross with all the butts lying around.”

DeLucia said if the law is passed, signs would be posted in the designated no-smoking areas; the signs would be provided by POWR Against Tobacco free of charge.

“The law would serve as a deterrent,” DeLucia said. “It’s more for dealing with the chronic violator.”

DeLucia said the Town Board will seek input from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee before deciding on the proposal.

“We will let them dig into it,” he said. “That board is made up of people from all walks of life and can offer a lot of different opinions.”

What do you think of the proposed plan to ban smoking from town-owned parks and playgrounds? For or against? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheDailyLewisboro

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