Aldermen approve 6-month smoking ban in NH city parks, public spaces
MANCHESTER — The Board of Aldermen approved a 6-month smoking ban that will affect five public parks and spaces in the Queen City.
The aldermen voted to pass the ordinance after Mayor Ted Gatsas proposed the ban. Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw was the only one to oppose the ordinance.
The places affected by this ban include Veterans Memorial, Victory, Bronstein and Pulaski Parks, as well as Stanton Plaza.
The Manchester Police Department said they supported the measure because prohibiting smoking in parks could help in policing synthetic marijuana.
Those who violate the ban will have to pay a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second and a third offense would require the person to appear in district court, Lt. Brian O'Keefe said.
In July, Manchester saw a large increase in Spice overdoses with 24 overdoses coming from spice, DMT or methamphetamines. In June, there were only six overdoses on those drugs, according to Chris Hickey, an EMS officer and firefighter paramedic with the Manchester Fire Department.
Hickey said a large amount of those overdoses came from the homeless population that spends time in Veteran's Park. Hickey said those numbers appear to be on a downward trend in August after police have been cracking down on higher-intensity areas.
The smoking ban took effect immediately.
The Manchester Police Department said it will spend the next two weeks educating parkgoers about the change and during that time multiple “No Smoking” signs will be placed in the parks.
The city isn't the first community in the state to implement such a ban. In July, nine communities in the Monadnock Region put tobacco-free policies into effect for recreation areas such as parks and beaches.
Keene, Harrisville, Marlborough, Swanzey, Nelson, Rindge, Troy, Walpole and Winchester created the policies for tobacco-free environments at parks, fields and local beaches so that children won't encounter second-hand smoke.