Several people stopped by an information booth at the Ithaca Commons Monday to get more information about the new smoking ban.
Not far away, police officers patrolled the area and reminded smokers about the new law. If someone is caught violating the law, they can face a fine of $75 for a first offense to $250 for three or more offenses.
Smokers gathered at the edge of the Commons to make sure they weren't breaking the law. Some were unhappy with the ordinance.
"I think they should just leave smokers alone," says smoker Sandy Littler. "It seems like smokers are being targeted left and right."
Ted Schiele from the Tompkins County Health Department says the ordinance is designed to protect the public from secondhand smoke and encourage people to quit.
There are a lot of people who are looking for reasons to quit, says Schiele. All they need is that one little thing that pushes them over the edge.
The city clerk says the city hopes the ordinance will be primarily peer enforced. That means if someone sees a person smoking in an off-limits area, they should ask them to put out the cigarette or leave.
Zachary Doob says he'd be willing to do that to protect his 10-month-old daughter.
"Any way we can keep smoke out of her lungs and away from us is a good thing," says Doob.
The next public information session on the law will be Wednesday August 4 from 11:00-2:00 at the Cayuga Street Pavilion.Jessica Cain was in Ithaca Monday. She reports that several police officers are in the Commons area enforcing the new smoking ban. An information booth has been set up, as well, but only a handful of people have stopped by it to get more information.
According to the city of Ithaca website includes the following:
-Parts of the Commons, Stewart Park and Cass Park
-In all small city parks, recreation walkways, and natural areas
-Outdoor dining tables and mobile vending sites located on city property
-Outdoor special events
-Playgrounds that are open to use by the public and within the fenced area of the Alex Haley Pool and Melvyn Bell Memorial basketball court.
-Within 25 feet of bus shelters, playgrounds, licensed child care facilities, entrances to schools and city buildings, located on public property
-Elevators in city parking garages
There are public informational sessions about the new ban on the Commons this month.
The first one is Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. under the Bernie Milton Pavilion.
How much will it cost you if you're caught smoking in non-smoking areas of the city? Ithaca is just the latest in a long line of local cities and organizations to ban smoking. Syracuse hospitals have pushed for more smoking restrictions and state lawmakers have banned it in college dorms .
Do you agree with public smoking bans? If so, what should the fine be for someone who is ticketed?