CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Leaders in the Town of Maiden have banned smoking cigarettes vaping in public parks. The move has caused debate. The ban has prompted a pretty big debate here in Maiden.
"People go out there and smoke and just flick their cigarette bunt down. I mean there's kids all around," one Maiden neighbor told FOX 46.
Some mothers are praising the ban, saying second hand smoke harms their kids, while others say it's infringing on their rights if they can't smoke outside in the park.
"How can we lead the world if we can't even smoke a cigarette in the park?" neighbor Don Hartman said.
After receiving several complaints, the Town Council voted unanimously to ban smoking and vaping in public parks.
“We’re not re-inventing the wheel here. It's around kids, it's on government property,” town manager Todd Herms said.
Herms says he used to be a tobacco user himself, but it's no longer acceptable to smoke in front of kids.
“Times have changed, we are now more concerned about people's health,” he said.
The ordinance includes ball fields and also bans e-cigarettes and alternatives to smoking
“To say that I can't smoke in that enclosed area, I don't think they are out of their way, because it’s not just my children there, there are other people's children also,” Krista Herron said.
Herron is a smoker herself and comes to the park with her daughter often
“It’s a children environment. They shouldn't have to come in contact with it here,” she said.
She supports the ban, saying it sets a bad example for kids.
"A kid could just pick up the cigarette bunt and just put it in their mouth. You don't know who’s been smoking on that.”
But Hartman says the ban infringes on his rights.
“It’s about control!” said Hartman. “There should be respect somewhere for the smokers. No doubt about it.”
Herms tells FOX 46 that neighbors caught smoking in the park will be fined.