Big Flats smoking ban debate

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Mariah Sparks | Categories:
BIG FLATS, N.Y. -- One by one, people in the town of Big Flats came forward voicing their concerns over the proposed smoking ban. "This community in Big Flats has gone way too far. The Big Flats town has got their own say. The taxpayers have no say in there," said Big Flats resident Phyllis Barrett. The community that once grew tobacco on its farms decades ago is now considering prohibiting its use around government buildings and in all 15 parks. "The essence of the law is to set a good example for young people in our community," said Big Flats Town Supervisor Mary Ann Balland. Jan Chytilo from the Southern Tier American Cancer Society has been working with the town board to implement the rule. "They should think about the children. Not let kids see adults smoking. We know it does impact them," Chytilo said. But not everyone disagrees with the ban. Some people say it's good for the environment and the community, while others say it's a little extreme and the board should make a less severe plan. "I've been president of little league. I've worked in parks. I don't see there is a smoking problem in this town," said Dean Wenzel. "Make it a separate area for them to smoke. That way people who don't want to be near the smoking and breathe the second hand smoke. They can avoid it," said Charlotte Annis. The board is united in its decision to move forward with the plan and will likely vote on it in September. Meanwhile, many people at Wednesday's meeting remain upset that they don't have a say in the process. "The vote will be when they run for election next time. That's when the smokers when get the chance to voice our opinions," Wenzel said. Board members say they will consider all comments made at the hearing as they make their final decision.
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