BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Bangor City Councilors approved a controversial ban on smoking in the city's parks Monday night.
The 8-1 vote followed much debate among councilors as well as members of the public.
The dissenting vote of Councilor David Nealley was due to concerns of enforcement and whether or not the ban was truly necessary.
Much of the debate tonight though centered on whether or not the ban went far enough.
Councilor Gibran Graham actually proposed what some councilors criticized as a last-minute amendment to widen the ban to all city parks—not just those where children would be.
“I’m looking at the all or nothing option here,” Gibran said.
Graham pointed to other Maine cities such as Portland as examples of bans already in effect. That amendment was ultimately shot down.
"We're not the first ones to do it. Other cities around have been doing it. People have been coming to their senses so to speak, so why not Bangor?” supporter of the ban Justin Grard said.
The ban will cover all public parks with pools, playgrounds, and athletic facilities that are intended to be used by minors. It is all meant to prevent children from being exposed to secondhand smoke.
"I think it's a really meaningful step for public health,” Council Chairman Sean Faircloth said.
Councilors may look to eventually expand the ban to all public spaces in the future.