Smokers soon won’t be able to light up on most Wellington village-owned property.
A ban approved earlier this year will kick in Jan. 1. It affects the village green, parks, and the grounds surrounding public buildings. Wellington’s village buildings have already been smoke-free for years.
The new law doesn’t prohibit smoking in the right-of-way — areas such as streets, sidewalks, and curb lawns.
“We’re not outlawing people smoking, we’re outlawing smoking on village property. We have a cigarette shop that operates in the village. People still have the freedom to do what they want,” mayor Hans Schneider said.
As a public health measure, smoking can be regulated in much the same way alcohol use can be, he said, “not just for our residents but for our employees and people who visit here.”
Second-hand smoke is a concern, as is litter in the form of cigarette butts on the ground, Schneider said.
“I know when I was on council and even this past summer a lot of people complained about smoking at the rec park. Feedback that I’ve gotten overall has been positive. They want to come to events on village property and enjoy them,” he said.
The no-smoking policy passed in March by a 4-1 vote of village council, with councilman Guy Wells dissenting. He declined to say why. Councilwoman Sandy Denes was not present for the decision.
Wellington is not the only local entity to put its boot on public smoking.
Area hospitals have all snuffed it out on their campuses. Oberlin College became a tobacco-free campus as of July 1. And North Ridgeville passed a policy similar to Wellington’s last year.
At the behest of the Lorain County General Health District, the Wellington Schools also briefly considered beefing up their tobacco-free rules for visitors to school grounds. That consideration, which included a voluntary cessation program for parents and other family members of students, was shelved indefinitely.
Schneider sits on the wellness committee for the school district and said that health district’s plan inspired him to introduce the village legislation.
Jason Hawk can be reached at jhawk@civitasmedia or @EditorHawk on Twitter. Jonathan Delozier can be reached at jdelozier@civitasmedia or @DelozierNews on Twitter. Both can be reached at 440-647-3171.