NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As of June 1, Northampton’s new smoking ban has been in effect.
Smokers and nonsmokers know, tobacco products can cause cancer. Because of that, Northampton is limiting tobacco use now in private clubs and city parks. They’re also enforcing fines and penalties for businesses who don’t comply with these new rules.
“You can smoke other places. They have designated smoking areas for everywhere really, so I think as a place to bring kids, you don’t really need that around like there are no benefits at all but there are benefits for not having it around,” Hannah Cleveland told 22News. She was with a friend and her two young nieces at the park.
Look Park is one of the most popular parks in Northampton, but Operations Manager Dan Taylor told 22News it is run by a private nonprofit. He said that means their smoking ban doesn’t go into effect until January 2015. Taylor said they have already ordered non-smoking signs. Right now, they only have those signs up around the children’s train area and near buildings.
Many private clubs, like Northampton Country Club, had already banned smoking on their own. They didn’t believe this new ban would change things too drastically for them.
“People are addicted to cigarettes though, they have to make the choices that, which means, they have limited freedoms and they just have to accept that,” said Isaac Scott, a Northampton resident.
The convenience store, Bird’s Store, was told to stop selling blunt wraps, something they’d already stopped doing. They were also told to stop selling packs of cigars under a $5 value, which they didn’t anyway.
One smoker said the ban needs better enforcement. “If I’m outside and I’m not near any buildings or any people, you can’t tell me I can’t smoke in that area, and I think that’s where, I think that many people are going to look at it that way too,” said Joe Lusignan of Northampton, who was still for the ban.
Businesses face 100 dollar fines and even the loss of their tobacco sales permit after multiple offenses. This new ban is also serving as a reminder for stores to check ID’s before selling tobacco products.