Wilmington could expand smoking ban in public places

By Tom Lehman 6:21pm, September 1, 2014
Wilmington City Council. (Tom Lehman/WDEL News)
Wilmington City Council could vote this week on a bill that would extend a smoking ban for some public spaces to include city parks, playgrounds and sheltered bus stops.

An ordinance amending the city's smoking law cleared the council's Health, Aging and Disabilities Committee last week. The bill could receive a full vote on Thursday.

The legislation expands the reach of an existing law that already allows police to fine smokers who light up in areas like city government offices, classrooms, libraries and museums. Offenders face a $100 penalty.

Councilman Bob Williams (D-District 7) said the bill is aimed at cutting down on the amount of second-hand smoke sometimes present in some Wilmington parks.

Williams, the primary sponsor on the bill, said many smokers are generally courteous toward those around them but also occasionally inconvenience non-smokers.

"You can walk across the street, do what you gotta do and come back," he said. "It's just that in these public gathering places, we're trying to keep it as environmentally friendly as possible for all the participants."

Though he intends to bring the bill to the floor on Thursday, Williams said an administrative issue regarding signage in non-smoking areas may prompt him to hold the bill for a couple of weeks.

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