When the Manchester Board of Directors met earlier this week they discussed establishing a policy that would ban or restrict smoking at town sponsored or co-sponsored outdoor events.
Some directors seemed in favor of implementing such a policy for health or personal reasons, while others said any such policy would be intrusive and cumbersome to enforce.
“People have a right to breath clean air, not the right to smoke,” said Lisa P. O’Neill, a Democratic member of the board who said she personally suffers from migraines whenever she is in the vicinity of tobacco smoke.
But Mark Tweedie, a Republican member of the board, said he would support some sort of a policy of putting up signs in public parks or at town sponsored events asking smokers to be courtesy and respectable of others and their surroundings; Tweedie said he thought an all out ban would be intrusive to personal liberties.
“I can certainly understand something like that having a designated area for it,” Tweedie said. “It’s taking rights from people, really. I couldn’t support it.”
Deputy Mayor Jay Moran, a Democrat, said he thought it would be prudent for the town to establish some sort of a policy at outdoor public events on town property, much the way smoking indoors is now regulated almost everywhere.
“I think this is very reasonable to set a policy for town sponsored events,” Moran said.
But Cheri Pelletier, a Republican member of the board, said she thought a ban would be difficult to enforce and would not entirely solve the issue.
“If we ban it in parks, they will be on the sidewalks,” Pelletier said. “It’s not enforceable at the end of the day.”
No decision on a policy was reached during the meeting, but it appears that this is not the last time that board members will discuss this issue.