Leaders in Manchester, N.H. have approved a six-month smoking ban for five of the city’s parks in hopes of not just reducing smoking, but use of the illegal drug spice, a form of synthetic marijuana.
The ban came at the suggestion of Mayor Ted Gatsas, and garnered the support of 13 of the city’s 14 aldermen. It goes into effect immediately in Veterans Memorial, Victory, Bronstein and Pulaski Parks, as well as Stanton Plaza. Fines start at $50 for a first offense, doubling to $100 for a second offense, while a third citation will send the violator to court, though strict enforcement will be gradually phased in over the next two weeks.
It also applies to non-smoked tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
Manchester is home to just over 110,000 residents.
Update (Sept. 7, 2017) — At its Sept. 5 meeting, the Board of Aldermen added a sixth park, Kalivas Park, to the list of places where smoking is banned, per a story from UnionLeader.com. Additionally, the board voted to rescind the six-month trial period and leave the ban in place on an ongoing basis, though it will still be subject to a review after six months. This story was originally published on Aug. 18.