New City Smoking Law Passed to Protect Children in Utica
By a very close margin, the Common Council in the City of Utica voted to ban smoking at public playgrounds and other public youth events. The vote was five to four in favor of the ban, which raises a few questions.
The council members who voted for the ban argue that this decision is what is best for the children of Utica, but that's not to say the opponents of the ban think differently. What it comes down to is the rights of citizens. Is this smoking ban an infringement on a person's right as a smoker to smoke in certain public outdoor places?
According to the Utica OD, the proposed law was sponsored by Samantha Colosimo-Testa and she told them,
There’s some serious long-term affects from smoking. Whether it be indoor or outdoor, I think it’s extremely important especially near playgrounds (and) youth events … that limiting the amount of smoke that’s near the children.
One issue opponents of the law had was cost. In the OD article it mentions the fact that signs will be required to be placed in the designated banned areas to make people aware of the law. Mike Mahoney, the city's deputy engineer says,
It just comes down to the fact that, yeah, it’s a great concept, but put some money behind it. I want to know whose going to pay for it because the council limits the amount of money that we get. They cut our budgets but then they add something that costs us money.
We want to know what your opinion on this issues is.