Smoking in downtown Northampton could cost you

Hampshire County

The Northampton Board of Health is considering a proposal to ban smoking downtown. 

Lighting up in Northampton could lead to a ticket if the Board of Health imposes a smoking ban in the city’s downtown business districts.

At Thursday night’s public forum, some residents said the city needs to find a way to curb smoking. 

City Councilor Marianne LaBarge, said she’s seen an increase in smokers downtown. 

“I actually saw a young man with his four-year-old child, was overwhelmed, overwhelmed by the smell of the smoke, and was even afraid about bringing his son back out of the store because of it,” LaBarge told 22News.

Some residents expressed concern for downtown workers who’d potentially have to walk a distance to get to a designated smoking area. 

Smokers worry about consequences beyond just their health.

“I’m aware it’s unhealthy, and my mother died of smoking,” said Jon Samard of Northampton. “Yeah, they’re against smoking a little bit. Stressful, might be a little bit stressful.”

The Health Department said the ordinance is aimed at education and not punishment.

The police department has never issued a ticket for anyone caught smoking in areas of the city where smoking is already prohibited.

The board still has a lot to work out on the proposal, and a public hearing necessary to move it forward likely won’t take place until spring time.

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