Canandaigua Lawmakers Discuss Smoking Ban
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Along the streets of downtown Canandaigua, residents can enjoy numerous shops and restaurants, and on the horizon, the lake view.
"This is a beautiful little venue here on the corner."
But on this Tuesday afternoon, a number of Canandaigua residents were looking down, at cigarette butts that lined the sidewalk.
"Everyday, everywhere you look."
Since proposing a smoking ban back in April, Councilwoman Karen White says the council's discussions have led to a more extreme approach.
"I thought restricting where people smoke can actually be a community service."
The proposed ordinance would ban smoking at city parks, bus stops, the downtown area and eventually the lakefront.
"I'm not telling people they can't do something. If it's invading other people's quality of life then I think there's some responsibility we have," White said.
White says while litter is the main focus, she feels these limitations may prompt smokers to quit. But for many smokers, it's an infringement on a personal decision.
The rationale for smoking bans lies in the idea that smoking is optional while breathing is not. A heated issue for some.
A bi-product of not being able to smoke inside establishments is that smokers now find themselves outside on the sidewalk looking for a place to dispose of their cigarette. Right now, there are no receptacles on the sidewalks, at the bus stops, or city parks.
While the ordinance can be passed by a majority vote from the city council, White says they will only pursue the ban if it's community driven. The proposed ordinance would function like the self-policing lawn mowing and snow removal ordinances the city already has.
"Trying to keep the place clean, it's littering, it's a great ban."
After the 2003 New York State law banning smoking at indoor establishments was passed, a growing trend has extended outdoors. Last year, New York City banned smoking in 1,700 parks and in high-traffic pedestrian areas like Times Square.
But many smokers are still left wondering, what's next. During the downtown tour, one smoker shared that sentiment every step of the way.