November 16, 2012

Bus stop smoking ban to get more work from Augusta city staff


AUGUSTA -- City officials plan to tweak a proposed ban on smoking at school bus stops and bring it to a final vote next month.

Reported adult smoking at a school bus stop used by children with health problems prompted the proposed ban, according to Mayor William Stokes.

City Councilor Dan Emery proposed modifying an ordinance passed in January to add designated school bus stops to the list of areas where smoking and other tobacco use is not allowed in the city. Emery said he received an email from parents of two children, one with asthma, the other with cystic fibrosis, complaining about another parent at their bus stop who smoked at the stop and refused to stop.

The proposal had a first reading at Thursday's City Council meeting, and is expected to face a final vote at councilors' next meeting, in December. It would ban all tobacco use within 20 feet of designated school bus stops in Augusta.

Stokes said city officials still have more work to do on the proposal, in order to clearly define what makes up a bus stop where smoking would be banned.

"There will be some further work on this proposal, so we can more precisely nail down what is meant by designated school bus stop," Stokes said. "Bus stops can change every year, depending on where the child lives, so we need to nail down what area we're talking about so people understand where they are prohibited from smoking and where they are allowed to smoke."

No members of the public spoke for or against the proposed change Thursday.


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