DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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November 28, 2013

Town councilors ponder no smoking zones

Councilors mull potential ban on town property

(Continued)

Councilor Mark Osborne said a solution might be to have a designated area at a park or other locations where those wishing to smoke could gather.

Bump said she is open to all ideas.

“Basically, I’m protecting my children,” she said. “Having a smoking section in a far-off place by the parking lot, I’m open to that.”

Derry already has some smoking restrictions in place.

No smoking is allowed with 45 feet of the town’s municipal center and school property is designated as smoke-free.

Enforcement can be tough, according to police.

“We’re very busy,” Capt. Vern Thomas said. “But when we walk areas for other reasons, that doesn’t mean we don’t see it taking place.”

Thomas said there have been issues at Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre when the space is rented out to other groups for performances and events.

Sometimes people forget the rules and light up outside the theater.

“People forget to see that as a school property,” Thomas said, “and school rules still apply.”

But, he said, most people are cooperative when they are told to stop smoking.

Bump has done research on other communities around the state and said there are towns that ban smoking in some public areas.

Chester has no-smoking signs at the playground and near the covered bridge at the town-owned Wason Pond recreational area on Route 102. School grounds are also posted as off limits to smokers.

“I’m all for it,” Chester police Chief William Burke said.

Osborne said although he appreciated Bump’s concerns and perhaps some restrictions could apply to areas where children play, he said an all-out ban might be too extreme.

“I don’t want Derry to turn into the anti-smoking Gestapo,” he said. “I know, everything is always about the kids, but a lot of adults out there who pay taxes want to be able to enjoy the streets, the parks, the transfer station and walking paths.”

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