Burlington, Vermont, to Ban Smoking on Outdoor Mall

The ban is expected to take effect before the end of the year

Burlington, Vermont, is banning smoking on its popular Church Street Marketplace outdoor pedestrial mall.

The city council voted Monday night, by a vote of 11 to 3, to ban smoking and electronic cigarettes on the mall. There is no start date for the new rule, but city council president Joan Shannon told NECN she expects it to take effect before the end of the year.

The Church Street Marketplace is an outdoor pedestrian mall that is home to many busy stores, restaurants and bars. While smoking has long been prohibited inside those establishments, the new ban covers the outside open-air space.

Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington, has already voiced his support for the move.

Violations could bring a $50 fine for a first offense, and $100 punishments for breaking the rule again. It is likely that officers will give smokers warnings in the early days of the ban, and that the marketplace will launch an education campaign about the rule change.

Smoker Greg Curtis, who lives above a Church Street business, expressed disappointment with the vote.

"I feel like that's infringing on my right as a smoker to smoke in an open area where it's not contained," Curtis told NECN.

"This is going to clean up our air and make breathing easier in Burlington," city councilor Shannon said. "This is where public sentiment is headed, and has been for a long time."

Mike Kanarick, the chief of staff for Mayor Weinberger, confirmed to NECN Tuesday afternoon that there is no time frame yet for the implementation of the smoking ban. He said Eileen Blackwood, the city's attorney, is still examining the rule and how it should be rolled out.

Burlington's smoking ban only applies to the bricked marketplace portion of Church Street, Shannon pointed out. Side streets are not included. 

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