Mayor Says Outdoor Smoking Ban Goes Too Far

Mount Holly Mayor Rich Dow says a proposal to ban outdoor smoking on township property is a bit, well, extreme. 

The non-smoker says that an ordinance introduced by the town council this week prohibits smoking in playgrounds, parks and ballfields.  Another part of the ordinance refers to a broad smoking ban on township property, including the creek that runs through the town, he said.  

"So if you are in a canoe in the middle of the creek, a cop could summon you over and cite you?" Dow asked, increduously.

"I’m 100 percent behind banning smoking in designated places, but not everywhere," he said.  "The bottom line is smokers are citizens and they pay for public space the same as anyone else."

Dow was the only one on the five-member council to vote against the proposal.  A public hearing will be held May 28 before a final vote will be taken.

The ordinance says the ban is designed to protect the "public heath, safety and welfare."  But Dow says that it may in effect force townsfolk to restrict their smoking to their own homes. 

He's not certain about whether someone can light up in his or her car.  "If the streets are public property  and government-owned, would that be allowed? he asked.



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