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Strasburg smoking ban snuffed out

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

STRASBURG -- A ban on smoking in town parks and other outdoors areas failed to pass Tuesday night.

Strasburg Town Council vote 5-2 against the proposed ordinance which would prohibit smoking in town-owned, leased or operated places such as Hometown Park, Riverwalk and the swimming pool.

The arguments fell along the lines of rights of the individual versus town laws. Those members opposed to the ordinance expressed fear the law would overreach the bounds of the town and could infringe on a person's right to smoke in an outdoor setting. The two members who voted in support of the measure commented that the proposal takes into consideration the rights of non-smokers as well as addresses perceived problems related to the activity such as littering, nuisance and the fire hazard created by discarded butts.

Council members Donald M. Le Vine, Sarah K. Mauck, Jocelyn Vena, Scott E. Terndrup and John M. Hall Jr. voted against the proposal. Councilmen Robert B. Baker and Rich A. Orndorff Jr. voted in favor. Councilman Richard A. Redmon did not attend the meeting.

Several council members, including Le Vine, Mauck and Vena, said they don't like being around second-hand smoke. However, the members said they walk away from the smoke. Some members also questioned whether the ordinance was too vague in its identifying outdoor public areas.

After a debate on the issue, Le Vine suggested the town follow Terndrup's suggestion that Strasburg put up signs and encourage people to show courtesy when smoking outdoors near non-smokers.

Town resident Kim Bishop spoke at the scheduled public hearing against the proposed ordinance and refuted that the issues raised about smoking outdoors really amounted to serious problems. Bishop said most litter on the trails and other public areas come from plastic bottles and wrappers, not cigarettes.

Resident Kathy Lawhead spoke in favor of the proposal and told council she tried to spend time at a town park with her 21-month-old grandson but had to leave when someone started smoking nearby because the child has had a heart transplant.

Council wouldn't entertain Orndorff's recommendation that members revisit the matter in a work session.


You can't really stop people from smoking outside... I don't smoke, I hate everything about it...but you know, common courtesy. If you're someplace, where there are other people, especially kids, Seperate yourself from them, and stand down wind to smoke. That should make it better, and less people will complain. There's no pleasing everybody though...

It is one thing to smoke around young children at the playground,(I dislike it) but what REALLY irks me is the fact that all of the nasty old dirty and germ laden butts are thrown on the ground....amid the mulch. I have spent time picking up butts and disposing of them when I have visited....Kids will pick them up if parents/grandparents are not vigilant. Please, smokers, dispose of your cigarette butts in the proper manner.

I was at the meeting, listing to the arguments about smoking within the park grounds, and never heard anyone mentioning the obvious...

what about smoke from charcoal grills in the park??

Why is BBQ smoke different from cigarettes when it comes to nuisance smoke? No way this ban would have been enforceable with this as a defensive argument.

This vote really surprised me considering the attitude of people now days. I thought they would have buckled to the greenees. Maybe this will give me reason not to lose all hope in this Town Council.

You know, probably the same people that complain about their children being exposed to smoking drag the same kids in the hottest part of the day, in and out of the traffic at the crawl, while the cars are continually belching out their exhaust for them to breath. And that's Ok?

I think my point was lost...it was not that most litter was not cigarette buts, but if litter was a reason for banning smoking (which I detest by the way) then water bottles, pop cans, candy wrappers, etc., should be banned as well.

As I see the problem it is just a case of no compromise. Outdoor cigarette smoke is not very dangerous, at least no more than bbq's, campfires, firework smoke, leave/wood burning smoke. Like clynette 81 said, it's about courtesy, and while a few people may smoke in non smoking areas, if you give people a place to smoke and put their butts a little ways away from people (but not in exile) most people would be responsive...as most smokers do try and be polite...however there are NO butt cans at the park anywhere, so how can people be responsible?...unless they bring their own can, which would be nice.

A few more trash cans on the walking trail and a few butt cans would help...would it fix the problem littering? NO, but it would be a compromise worth trying before an all out ban is issued...that was my point. --all or nothing in this debate seems pointless.

And I'd like to say thanks to the council members who voted against the total ban, but would encourage them to listen to Mr. Orndorff and bring it up as a compromise issue at another date. Mrs. Lawhead only read about the ordinance yesterday, if she'd waited to open her water bill until today she wouldn't have even had a chance to speak...

Most people probably don't realize that tobacco is what saved the Jamestown colony. If it were not for John Rolfe's successful tobacco crops in 1612 the colony would have likely been abandoned and some other country would have settled America.

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