• South Portland Ordinance Bans Smoking In Public Places
  • The South Portland City Council gave initial approval to an ordinance which would ban smoking cigarettes within 25 feet of any municipal beach, park, playground, recreational field and walking trail.

    "The ordinance will really prohibit all cigarettes use in all public parks and beaches, including the Greenbelt," explained mayor Rosemarie De Angelis. "It will be predominately enforced through signage and friendly reminders, much like our dog ordinance."

    The proposed law changes came after the city received a letter from members of the high school's Interact Club asking the city to consider such a ban.

    "We went to Willard Beach to try and figure out how many cigarette butts we could find in just an hour," said Elisa Martin, a member of the club. The kids found over a thousand.

    "I was surprised, I really didn't think there would be that many," added Martin.

    The students decided the best way to clean up the butts left behind in many of the city's public places, as well as reduce people's exposure to second hand smoke, would be to work with the city to make a law change.

    Violating the ordinance could result in fines ranging from $50 to $250, but mayor De Angelis says they hope signs reminding people and 'friendly reminders' by citizens will be enough to get people to change their behavior.

    "you have the right to go to the beach, but there are rules and regulations that every public site has," said De Angelis. "We are now saying we want the air, and the space, to be clean - the air to be clean of second-hand smoke, and the space to be clean of cigarette butts."

    The ordinance will go before the council for a second reading in two weeks.