Benjamin Shapleigh-Archer of Lewiston enjoys a cigarette Thursday afternoon on Lisbon Street before having his lunch at the Lewiston Public Library. “I don’t think it’s right and is unfair.” he said of the smoking ban on Lisbon Street.

LEWISTON — The city will consider extending its downtown smoking ban up Pine Street to cut down on smoking in front of the Lewiston Public Library.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, Councilor Luke Jensen said he would like to see the ban extended to include the Pine Street side of the library, which he said has turned into an “unpleasant” location.

He said the current ban along downtown Lisbon Street, which was implemented by the council in November, has led to smokers using Pine Street and the Park Street Alley as places to congregate.

“It’s a very unpleasant sight,” he said, “and I probably wouldn’t want kids walking by it.”

City Administrator Ed Barrett confirmed Thursday the proposal would be coming forward, “probably in the not-too-distant future.”

Mayor Mark Cayer said he walked by the library Tuesday and saw about a dozen people hanging around and using “terrible language” as two school-age children walked past “through the cloud of smoke.”

He said he later saw Lewiston police at the scene.

Marcela Peres, director of the Lewiston Public Library, said Thursday that smoking outside has been a recurring concern over the years.

“We ask those who are smoking to keep clear of the entryways and sidewalks leading to the entrance so that other library patrons can enter and exit without exposure to secondhand smoke,” she said, “but it does continue to be a problem.”

Ryan Barry of the Lewiston Public Works Department installs a smoke-free area sign Feb. 4 along Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

Over the past year, Lewiston has passed a number of smoking bans, starting with a ban affecting all city parks and recreational facilities.

The Lisbon Street ban went into effect in December after a number of downtown business owners rallied city officials to do something about secondhand smoke making its way into storefronts or turning away customers.

Since then, activity downtown has been quiet as city staff and police get the proper signage in place before enforcement efforts ramp up.

Lt. David St. Pierre of the Lewiston Police Department said there have been no offenses or citations recorded since preliminary approval of the ban went into effect.

He said during that time, there was only one call for service pertaining to cigarette smoking on Lisbon Street, while there were five calls related to marijuana use.

Michael Dostie, owner of J. Dostie Jewelers and board chairman of the Downtown Lewiston Association, said Thursday the city has been “smart” about implementation of the ban.

He said rather than take a “knee-jerk” approach that could have had a negative impact on the community, city officials allowed time to educate the public on the ban.

“I expect to see full implementation of informing and enforcing the ordinance as we approach the beginning of spring,” he said.

The city’s Public Works Department began installing the signs last month, stating that 36 signs would be posted in city parks and along Lisbon Street.

Barrett said that for a period in late fall, a Lewiston police officer on foot in the Lisbon Street area gave verbal warnings in advance of the signs going up.

A number of downtown business owners told the council this fall that secondhand smoke and littering were affecting their businesses. Following the passage of the downtown ban, the city also implemented a similar ban along the public right-of-ways next to Central Maine Medical Center. There had already been one on the books at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

An unidentified man prepares to smoke Thursday afternoon on Pine Street in Lewiston, next to the public library.


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