South Portland likely to add school bus stops to smoking ban

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors are aiming to add school bus stops to the locations where smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes will be prohibited. 

Councilors on Oct. 3 unanimously approved a first reading of new ordinance language that would not only ban e-cigarettes in public places where tobacco use is already prohibited, but add school bus stops to the list. Smoking is already prohibited at city bus stops. 

It’s also illegal in the city to smoke in public recreation areas, such as parks, beaches and sports fields. If approved, smoking would be prohibited within 25 feet of all school bus stops.

Councilor Claude Morgan suggested adding bus stops to the list last week after he received a complaint from a South Portland Housing Authority resident, who said smokers were blocking the sidewalk in front of her home because there is no smoking allowed on the property.

Morgan criticized the housing authority’s refusal to offer a smoking area at some of the residential properties administered by the SPHA following a request by city officials.

As a result, the problem has “moved out into the neighborhood, and now we’re cleaning up that problem,” he said. 

And while the ordinance change is a “no-brainer,” and “the extension into the city bus system, I think, is the logical place to go with this,” Morgan said, private campuses and businesses like the housing authority, which doesn’t allow smoking either in or on its properties, pushes residents who smoke to do it on city property.

It’s unnecessary to single out one business for being smoke-free, Mayor Tom Blake said, but agreed the “point being made here is, we have a pretty serious problem.”

The hope with the added restrictions is to “give those young set of lungs a good start and good chance in life,” Morgan said. 

Kevin Adams, director of parks, recreation and waterfront, along with Jana Richards, public health coordinator for Opportunity Alliance, made the proposal last week that included barring individuals from smoking electronic devices used for vaping in those tobacco-restricted areas. 

E-cigarettes are reusable devices that vaporize flavored liquid instead of burning tobacco. Vapor from e-cigarettes smells different from cigarette smoke, but still contains nicotine and other substances found in cigarettes.

The Portland City Council in April 2015 took a similar step and banned vaping and the use of e-cigarettes in public places where the use of tobacco was already prohibited. 

But the issue is becoming an increasingly “serious” one, Blake said. “It’s unhealthy (and) it’s unsightly.”

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.
  • geidus

    The whole city (I’m in SE) should be considering this and I’m very hopeful that smoking at kids bus stops will be added to the ban. I’m sick and tired of another parent always smoking at the bust stop. It’s rude and extremely inconsiderate to the children and other parents. I try to keep my son as healthy as possible. I’ve taught him that smoking is absolutely disgusting habit and makes people VERY ill. I try to stay as far back as I can because earlier this year I was hospitalized (2 weeks in a induced coma on a ventilator plus 2 weeks to gain muscle back) for a month due to pneumonia. Doctors told me it’ll take my lungs 5 years to heal from the extent of it. Some days it’s hard enough just walking up the stairs. So I really don’t need that crap in my lungs… so if the whole Portland area were to try to adopt this, it would definitely have my vote 🙂