Council Gets Request to Forbid Smoking in Parks

A majority of the Town Council agrees with a Derry mom that smoking should be eliminated on all town property, including recreational fields and playgrounds.
Nicole Bump, mother of two sons, spoke in the public comment portion of the Nov. 19 meeting. Bump suggested prohibiting smoking in public parks, noting that she was concerned about the effects of secondhand smoke on her children and others.

She had two recent incidents at Hood Park and Don Ball Park, she said. At Don Ball, she was able to work around it, because the park is fairly large. At Hood, she was headed for the swing set when she noticed a woman smoking as she pushed her own child on a swing.
“There are only four swings at Hood,” Bump said. Worried about secondhand smoke, she did not take her child on the swing set.
“Try telling a 2-year-old they can’t use the swings,” Bump said.
Bump did her homework, noting that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined that secondhand smoke is responsible for more ear infections in children, more frequent asthma attacks, more respiratory infections and an increase in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. “Three hundred cases of bronchitis in infants,” she said, “were directly related to secondhand smoke.”
She talked to Councilor Al Dimmock, Bump said, and both thought that as smoking is forbidden on all school property, that rule “makes sense to extend it to town public parks.”
Councilor Mark Osborne asked if it would be possible to allow smoking in public parks, but to have a buffer zone for children, “not within so many feet of the playground.”
“I am open to that,” Bump said.
“It is an excellent idea,” Councilor Tom Cardon said.
Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores agreed, and said if a policy were developed, it should go beyond playgrounds. She’s driven by the bicycle paths and seen women pushing strollers, she said. Children also go to the dog park with their pets and parents, Katsakiores observed.
“If we do it,” she said, “we need to address the whole picture.”
“In this building,” Dimmock said, referring to the Municipal Center, “there’s a sign that forbids smoking within 45 feet of the building. If we can do it with this building, we can do it in the parks.”

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