DERRY — A resident sparked a discussion at the Town Council about making Derry’s parks smoke-free zones.
Nicole Bump said when takes her two children to play at Don Ball or Hood Park, she often finds other park visitors lighting up close to playground equipment.
Bump hopes the town might do something to enforce a more smoke-free environment at public parks and playgrounds in town.
“I have two sons,” she said, “and we were exposed to second-hand smoke.”
Bump said she didn’t want to push her toddler son on a swing with someone smoking nearby.
With only four swings at Hood, it can be hard to find a spot to play safely, she said.
Don Ball is much bigger, but there still are smokers near the playground equipment, Bump said.
“We’re trying to get out and be healthy,” she said. “But it’s counterproductive to be exposed to this dangerous situation.”
Her recent experience was not an isolated incident, Bump said. She and her two boys, ages 2 and 5 months, are often exposed to secondhand smoke at town parks.
“This is a very serious problem,” she said. “It’s every time I go. It happens a lot. Try telling a 2-year-old that he can’t use the swing.”
Town councilors Nov. 19 had mixed reactions to her request for some restrictions on smokers.
Councilor Al Dimmock, a former smoker, said it’s something Derry could explore.
“I smoked for 45 years and anybody that says it doesn’t affect you doesn’t know what they are talking about,” he said. “It’s not you you’re affecting, it’s the people around you.”
He said the Town Council has the power to put some rules into place.
“We have a right to say ‘no smoking’ on any town property,” he said. “It’s for the best interest of our kids.”