Will Burlington's New Smoking Ban Be Enforced? Don't Butt on It | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Will Burlington's New Smoking Ban Be Enforced? Don't Butt on It 

The outdoor smoking ban enacted by the Burlington City Council this week comes with hefty fines for those caught lighting up in city parks and on beaches: $50 to $200 per offense.

But will police really enforce the prohibition? After all, this is Burlington — a town where open pot smoking has been tolerated every April at UVM's annual 420 Festival.

"Much like idling, education and peer/citizen reminders will be the primary tool in any smoking ordinance enforcement," Burlington Police Chief Mike Schirling tells Blurt. "Actual tickets will, generally, be a last resort."

City Councilor Joan Shannon (D-5), who chairs the Ordinance Committee that crafted the smoking ban, also foresees no big crackdown.

"Have you ever known anyone to be ticketed for smoking in a no smoking area?" Shannon says. "I haven't."

Instead, Shannon envisions enforcement playing out like this: "Someone will light up, and someone else will notice and say, 'Excuse me. You might not know, but this is actually a no smoking area.' And the cigarette will be promptly extinguished," Shannon says.

One place smokers definitely won't get busted: Church Street. The Marketplace was spared from the outdoor smoking ban, in part because several merchants warned that it would hurt their already struggling businesses.

The smoking ban that passed the Burlington City Council 11-2 on Monday night was the brainchild of City Councilor Karen Paul (I-6), who initially proposed to ban smoking on the waterfront bike path and later expanded the proposal to include all city parks and the Church Street Marketplace.

Burlington banned indoor smoking in 2004 and now joins a small but growing number of cities expanding such prohibitions to outdoor gathering places. Paul calls the parks and beaches ban "a great first step" and says the council could look to broaden the ban in the future.

"Perhaps doing something where outdoor eating establishments can allow smoking within their defined area," Paul says.

Paul says the ordinance takes effect immediately, and "No Smoking" signs will begin going up in designated outdoor nonsmoking areas.

But don't necessarily expect ticket-writing cops to follow them. Expect, instead, to get educated.

Photo by Matthew Thorsen

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact web@sevendaysvt.com.
Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: ,

More By This Author

About The Author

Andy Bromage

Andy Bromage

Bio:
Andy Bromage was a Seven Days staff writer from 2009-2012, and the news editor from 2012-2013.

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

 

Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in News

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation