Hamden to consider expanding smoking ban

By on September 5, 2017

Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The town of Hamden has been contemplating expanding its smoking ban from fall 2016. According to the New Haven Register, the ban will now go beyond places like schools and public parks, and will include town properties designated by the mayor or a designee.

The town government last discussed this matter in early August. The bill was not passed because the language needed work, specifically on who can be a designee, according to The Register. David Garretson, the mayor’s chief of staff, said that the potential expansion of the ban won’t be brought up again until October.

Hamden resident Hayden Zebyrd, who is a smoker, thinks that it might be difficult for the town to enforce the ban.

“I say have at it,” Zebyrd said. “Give it a shot… but just like when they tried to make Rocky Top [Road] a one- way road. People just took down the signs. You can try all you want, but I don’t think it’s going to stop too many people.”

Junior Josie Gonzales likes the idea of the expansion. She doesn’t think people would want their kids to be exposed to secondhand smoke. However, like Zebyrd, she thinks that keeping up the ban may be a challenge.

“Banning it completely is a little [odd], because smoking is pretty common,” Gonzales said.

Senior Christian Woodford is supportive of the ban due to the health reasons, even though he would like to learn more about the policy.

“I think that immediately outside of public buildings, it’s within reason to ban smoking,” Woodford said. “I think designated areas, within a fair enough distance from the entrance and exits from buildings, is reasonable.”

Jeff Burness, who is a vape juice maker at Silver City Vapors, is supportive of the ban, but he thinks that any sort of restriction on tobacco usage may also end up entangling vaping.

“Nobody really wants to be out in public, breathing in other people’s vapor smoke and stuff,” Burness said. “So I kinda understand why they do it for both, but I kinda wish they’d separate the two and treat it as two different things.”

Burness, who used to smoke before he began vaping, said that many people who use e-cigs and other products are trying to transition away from smoking and may eventually quit vaping also. However, he does note that some customers still smoke, including one man who “has to have his cigarette with his coffee every morning,”.

Zebyrd doesn’t personally care about vaping, and said, “If you want to smoke something, get a real smoke,” For him, he’ll continue smoking, regardless of what the town does.

“It’s not going to stop me from coming out here and smoking my cigarettes, and I don’t think it’s going to stop too many others either,” he said.

When October comes around, Burness, who argues that vapes are less harmful than tobacco, hopes that people are well informed when the decision is made.

“[Instead of] trying to save people from themselves, it’d be better to properly inform people on the benefits and dangers and whatever of each, and be honest about what people are getting themselves into,” he said.

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About Matt Grahn

Staff Writer, Journalism Major, Political Science Minor