Dover Smoking Ban Could Gain Teeth - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Smoking Ban Could Gain Teeth

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DOVER, Del. -- A smoking ban on city property will get some teeth if Dover council members approve legislation that would add fines to the prohibitive measure.

The council this week introduced a bill that would formalize an already approved ban into city code along with $25 fines for smoking in places like the Dover Public Library, city offices, and parks. It could receive final approval during a meeting this month.

City Manager Scott Koenig said the ban is intended to cut down on litter like cigarette butts and promote a healthier atmosphere in public places.

"We really just don't want people smoking on city property. It's not that we want to collect revenue because of that. We just want a property to be maintained as easily as possible," he said.

The city will have to install signage informing people of the ban, though Koenig said the roughly 250 signs will be paid for with grant money. Dover police will be the primary issuers of fines.

Although the ban was already in effect for more than a month, there was no mechanism within the policy to directly punish violators.

Donna Mascarenas of Dover, a smoker, said she thinks the fines are a step too far. She expects non-smokers will aggressively report people, taking officers' focus away from other duties.

"If I'm smoking or someone else is smoking they cover their face...I do believe people will call and turn us in," she said.

Steve McMullen, a former smoker who sometimes visits Dover parks, said he thinks the fines may be excessive but understands why they are being considered.

"People that just smoke, they don't police [themselves about picking] butts up and stuff," he said. "I think the fines should be justified."

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