Letter: Second-hand smoke in Arlington

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To the Editor:About a month ago, I approached the Town of Arlington's Select Board in regards to adults smoking cigarettes on and around the Arlington Recreational children's playground. I stated that on just about every occasion that my family and I visit the playground, adults were on the playground smoking cigarettes and essentially saturating the area with second hand smoke, then throwing the butts on the ground where little ones can pick them up. I then presented the Select Board with a copy of Vermont's "Smoking in Public Places Law" and Act 135. According to both State Laws, they are required to enforce. Both State laws clearly state that, smoking is illegal in any "publically shared location", and specifically mentions areas managed by municipal governments and/or paid for by tax dollars.It has been two weeks since I went before the board and this is the response I just received."Dear Nelson -- Just to let you know that I checked on the capacity or requirement of the Town to regulate smoking outdoors on Town property. There is no requirement that this be done -- the material that you shared with us concerns state property and school property. It would be possible for the Town to develop and pass a special ordinance to regulate smoking in a place like a playground but it would not be a simple process. I reported this to the full Selectboard and although they understand your concerns, I do not believe that there is an appetite to pursue this issue at this time, given the other matters before the Board. However, I think we will try to ensure that the cigarette butts get cleaned up more effectively. -- Cynthia B."We are not asking for the park to be smoke free, just that they expand the current no-smoking rules that are already in place with the rest of the park to the children's playground. So I ask every parent to share this, in order to make this issue known. I am not an anti-smoking person, I smoked for a time, so I understand the need. People have the right to do whatever they want to themselves, but not to make victims of others. That being said, I truly believe the children of Arlington should not be exposed to second-hand smoke from irresponsible people smoking on and around a area completely dedicated to young children.Nelson IllinskiArlington


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