Push to ban smoking in downtown Pittsfield

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – The city of Pittsfield has already done away with smoking at building entrances and at all of its parks.

Now they’re looking to take its anti-smoking efforts a step further by getting rid of it downtown.

“Not being able to walk down North Street and smoke a cigarette would be kind of tough,” Ruben Rivera said.

“It’s so, so important because secondary smoke is the number one killer,” Julie Hastings said.

Just as one would expect, this trail-blazing lighter flame proposal is getting mixed reaction from the people who walk these streets every day.

“We think we might be the first if we do it, but we know we would not be the last,” Jesse Cook-Dubin, President of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., said.

A smoke-free community is just one of many visions in a five-year strategic plan written up by Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.

The organization’s president Jesse Cook-Dubin recognizes not every city could get away with the idea but says it makes sense for Pittsfield.

“A lot of people come here for the natural beauty. For food tourism for cultural activities,” Cook-Dubin said. “It’s not Bourbon Street people don’t come here to party and pub crawl necessarily so it would feel good it would be a good fit.”

He says on top of protecting non-smokers from exposure. This is also another way to prevent our youth from picking up the habit.

“Setting a good example, certainly, but also becoming a welcoming place for people who are potentially looking to relocate to the Berkshires.”

Julie Hastings is hoping this vision comes to fruition.

She suffers from a lung disease and tells me second-hand smoke often triggers asthma attacks. On top of the health benefits, she says it’d be good for the city’s sanitation too.

“Look at the streets! They’re covered with cigarette butts. They can’t walk up the street and dump it in a garbage can? It’s disgusting,” Hastings said.

While this ban would certainly inconvenience smokers like Rivera says he gets it.

“I would comply, they have a lot of new rules for North Street because they fixed it up,” Rivera said.

This is in the preliminary stages and they want to start a community conversation.

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