Cambridge smokers are fuming over an order by the City Council to study the feasibility of implementing a smoking ban in public places, mainly parks.
“It plays right into the idea of Puritan American rules,” said David Wulfert, a Germany native who was taking a cigarette break in Winthrop Square yesterday. “It’s a different point especially if you’re in a crowded place, but if you’re in a park, I think it’s nothing that should be regulated.”
Councilor Marjorie Decker proposed the ban and the council voted earlier this month to have the city’s health department study the feasibility. It was unclear if the ban would include sidewalks, but the main focus would be public spaces like parks.
In 2004, a statewide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars went into effect, pushing many smokers to the street.
New York City officials held a public hearing earlier this month on the same issue for their public parks.
“People should be able to do what they want in public places,” said Karen Cecchini, the manager of Leavitt & Peirce smoke shop in Harvard Square. She said people, especially tourists, are already nervous enough when they come to Massachusetts and ask if they can smoke outside on the sidewalk.
The city’s effort to ban public smoking has garnered the attention of international associations.
“Ridiculous,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. “This is just another twisted attempt by lazy lawmakers to control people with unnecessary legislation based on unsubstantiated assumptions.”
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