You want to light up in Oswego? The Farmers' Market is now off limits. The Oswego Common Council has unanimously (7-0) approved a smoking ban at the weekly outdoor event, citing health concerns.
"Second hand smoke is dangerous, I think it's the responsible thing for the city to do," said Oswego Alderman Ron Kaplewicz.
The ban has sparked a heated debate. Two market vendors spoke to CNYcentral's Brian Mueller, this afternoon. They say they want a more "middle of the road" approach. They say they'd be in favor of having a designated area for smokers to go, instead of completely banning smoking from the grounds.
"I would encourage smokers to have a specific area where they might go to have a cigarette instead of smoking as they're wandering through the market," says Taste the World owner Ann Backer, a vendor at the farmers' market.
Man in the Moon candy shop owner Amy Lear says she respects the right of people to smoke, but says smoking is a problem at the market.
"There have been times when people have been smoking near my booth, near my customers, where I have been concerned about that and wish that they would step back," says Lear. Christian Martinek visits the farmers' market from time to time. He smokes, and says the outdoors should be free for people to smoke.
"It's an open area and we should all be able to smoke where we want," Martinek says. "If it's in the courthouse or in a store, I could imagine not smoking there, which I don't. But we should be able to smoke outside."
Oswego Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Hilton says she has some concerns about enforcing the measure. She says police already have their hands full with monitoring everything that goes on in the market, including a pet ban.
Oswego Common Councilor Ron Kaplewicz first brought the issue up to the council. He says people would have to police themselves. Like the animal ban, there is not an actual law against smoking and police would not be able to issue citations. City leaders say they are relying on smokers to respect the one-block ban and smoke away from the market.
The market is located in the heart of downtown Oswego on West 1st Street and is open every Thursday afternoon and evening from June through October.
The measure will now be signed by the Mayor and could go into effect in time for the farmer's market on Thursday.
What do you think, should smoking be banned in the farmers' market?