BAR HARBOR — Use of tobacco is now banned in all town parks, including the village green, following a unanimous vote of the town council Tuesday.
By a vote of 7-0, councilors approved a proposal from the Hub of Bar Harbor to expand the smoking ban, while also adding language to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices.
The proposal was approved previously by the parks and recreation committee in meetings this summer and fall. Non-smoking locations, which previously comprised Glen Mary Park, Park Street Playground, Town Hill Playground, the town athletic fields and Barker Park, now include Hadley Point, Harborview Park, Millbrook Preserve and the village green.
“All town recreational properties are tobacco-free zones, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, that specifically prohibit the use of any tobacco product, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, spit and smokeless tobacco, chew, snuff, snus, vaping devices and other non-FDA approved nicotine delivery devices (i.e. electronic cigarettes),” the language in the policy now reads.
The Hub of Bar Harbor is a civic group staffed by merchants and citizens interested in improving streetscapes and the business climate downtown. The group is aligned with the national Main Street network and the Maine Development Foundation. The group’s wellness council, chaired by Maria Donahue of Healthy Acadia, drafted the new tobacco-free policy.
The Hub of Bar Harbor has allocated $400 to the town for erection of signs in each park detailing the policy.
Councilors passed the measure with little discussion. Public works director Chip Reeves said that while enforcement would not necessarily be practical, the policy will give anyone offended by tobacco use in a public park the ability to point to the sign and ask the tobacco user to stop what they are doing.