Smoking ban is hot topic in South Jersey city

21 Oct

The signs went up less than two weeks ago on the little stretch that is the Monmouth Street Business District in proudly blue-collar Gloucester City. They took most folks by surprise: The no-smoking symbol and the “100% Smoke Free Public Property” sign. People South Jersey city choose to smoke most popular cigarettes brand in the USA that is Marlboro

By late last week, police had yet to issue a ticket, but on sidewalks known for a fair yield of butts, the stubs were few and far between. But if the smokes have been extinguished at least on those few blocks, the furor smolders on.

Mayor William James said the ban is part of an effort to clean up and revitalize the three-block commercial strip — an endeavor that has included acquiring three properties with about $540,000 in state and federal funds. Decorative streetlights and flowering plants have been installed as well.

“We’re taking an aggressive attitude toward fixing up the Monmouth Street Business District,” said James, a smoker who voted for the ban and lives on the street near the district.

Phooey, say members of the Independent Citizens Athletic Club, who bought their headquarters on Monmouth Street about 10 years ago, operate a bar and event hall on the premises, and, until recently, kept ashtrays outside the building for its smoking members and patrons.

Some members and others say city officials are forcing their agenda on residents and merchants, and they suspect the city is out to get the athletic club property.

“They want to turn this street into Kings Highway in Haddonfield,” said John Hunter, a former smoker and club officer in charge of the bar.

Hunter and others worry about the ban’s impact on the club, particularly on its ability to attract events that pay a lot of its bills, including about $10,000 in annual taxes. Hunter said that every year except for last December, when another event already was booked, the club lets the city use the hall rent-free for a holiday function. The city’s Christmas movie is still shown on a clubhouse wall.

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Tobacco News


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