The title of the article is “Smoking/vaping Officially Snuffed At Town Beaches, Rec Areas | Westport Journal.”
In a move to protect public health and promote cleanliness, the town of Westport has implemented a comprehensive ban on smoking and vaping at town beaches, recreational areas, and other public spaces. The decision was made by the Board of Selectwomen, with final approval given on Wednesday.
The ban extends to popular locations such as Compo Beach and playgrounds like Compo’s, and also includes a 25-foot buffer zone around these facilities and their parking lots. The intention behind this prohibition is to safeguard individuals, especially children, from exposure to second-hand smoke.
Not only is this policy focused on preserving public health, but it also addresses environmental concerns. The improper disposal of cigarette butts and other smoking-related waste can contribute to pollution and harm wildlife. By eliminating smoking and vaping at these locations, the town aims to mitigate these negative impacts.
This initiative aligns Westport with many other municipalities across Connecticut and the nation that have already implemented similar bans. Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Fava highlighted that four out of five parks and recreation agencies in the country have already prohibited tobacco use. Reports from neighboring towns such as Fairfield, Darien, and Branford indicate that these bans were implemented without significant opposition.
Enforcement of the ban will primarily be carried out by the Parks and Recreation Department. However, police intervention may be required if individuals refuse to comply with the regulations. The ban extends to all town-owned athletic fields, courts, playgrounds, pools, beaches, concession areas, and designated parking lots. It also incorporates a 25-foot radius around these areas to ensure better supervision and protection from drifting smoke.
It’s important to note that the ban does not encompass all town parks. The policy specifically targets recreational facilities and amenities mentioned in the regulations, allowing for some flexibility. Locations such as Winslow and Riverside parks will not be subject to the ban.
Throughout the process, public response to the ban has been minimal. During a discussion held by the Parks and Recreation Commission, no comments were received from the public. Similarly, during the Board of Selectwomen meeting, there was no opposition, and the policy received unanimous approval.
This new regulation marks a significant step towards creating healthier and cleaner public spaces in Westport. By eliminating smoking and vaping, the town aims to protect individuals, particularly children, from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, while also promoting environmental stewardship. The enforcement of these rules will be monitored by the Parks and Recreation Department, ensuring the well-being of residents and visitors alike.