Those who smoke may need to find new places to light up as the Village of Tuckahoe inches closer to approving a new law banning smoking in many public places such as playgrounds, parks and ball fields.
The proposal to curb smoking in places where children gather was inspired by the opening of the Andrus Early Learning Center at Village Hall last spring according to Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond.
and has an outdoor play area on the property as well.
Concerned about the children's health, the village board deemed it necessary to ban smoking at Village Hall and now the board needs to decide if the residents of Tuckahoe would like to see smoking restrictions in other public areas of the village.
"In my opinion, activities involving children should not involved smoking," remarked Trustee Greg Luisi who along with the rest of the board, seemed in favor of approving the proposed law but agreed that some of the wording needed to be amended before the board would sign off on such a measure.
By definition, it is proposed that smoking be banned in the following Village locations:
- Any property owned by the village used for sporting events such as but not limited to baseball, softball, soccer or football.
- An outdoor area designated for children to play in, i.e. Village playgrounds, ball fields and playhouses.
The ban would not be applicable to private playgrounds such as that of a church or other institution and while the board felt positive about the laws intention, they did however question how effectively Tuckahoe Police would be able to enforce the law.
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Stating that the police are not always out at the parks around the village, the board worried about residents who may disregard the law but Maureen Kinney, representing the organization Pow'r Against Tobacco stated that law enforcement officials rarely have to step in to enforce these ordinances in her experience.
"We have found that residents themselves seem to monitor each other and with proper signage, people seem to abide by the law and smoke either in designated areas or outside of the park boundaries," said Kinney.
The penalty for smoking in non-smoking areas would be similar to laws against public consumption of alcohol or riding your bicycle on village sidewalks and Tuckahoe Police Chief John Costanzo noted that his department would be exercising discretion if the law was to take effect, giving residents time to adjust to the new ordinance.
Still, the board felt that the proposed law had many positive effects on the village, from simply increasing the overall environmental quality of the parks to intangibles such as the example adults can set for children by not smoking in their presence.
"I think it is important the example adults set for children and in theory we would like to see our residents developing healthier lifestyles," stated Trustee Thomas Giordano.
The next Tuckahoe Board of Trustee meeting is scheduled for Monday Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. at Village Hall.
What do you think of the proposed ban on smoking in Village parks? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.