LEWISTON – The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to approve an amendment to a proposed ordinance prohibiting the use of tobacco products in city parks and recreational areas, adding a public right of way along Lisbon Street.

The vote followed the first reading of the ordinance, which must have a second reading before the council approves it as law.

The council voted unanimously Sept. 17 to prohibit the use of tobacco products in all city parks and recreational areas.

Following an initial plea to ban smoking in Dufresne Plaza, a popular downtown park, officials moved forward with the ban covering all parks.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said that the amendment would add both sides of Lisbon Street, from Adams Avenue to Main Street, as a public right of way where tobacco use is prohibited.

Barrett said the addition of the Lisbon Street area “covers the extent of the commercial area of downtown Lisbon Street.”

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Councilor Michael Marcotte said that while he supported the ordinance and its amendment, he felt “a little skittish moving along.”

“This all started with a ban of smoking in Dufresne Plaza and evolved into all public parks and recreational areas,” Marcotte said. “Now, we’ve moved onto (a large part) of Lisbon Street.”

“I understand that downtown merchants need to be able to provide a welcoming nature to their businesses, but I hope that there’s going to be some slowing down somewhere so we’re not getting requests from other areas,” Marcotte continued. “I just want to make sure we’re (preserving the) rights of some of our citizens that feel like they’re under attack.”

Rea said she agreed with Marcotte that there should be a “balance” between respecting the rights of smokers and nonsmokers.

“I think that when it comes to downtown businesses, we’re trying to attract business and tourism here, and (the ordinance) is a great step forward,” Rea said, adding that she believes “education is the most effective first step before launching into fines.”

Councilor Jim Lysen said he “hopes education includes helping people quit smoking.”

“To me, this is a health thing,” Lysen said.

 

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