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Norwalkers Split on Smoking at the Beach

NORWALK, Conn. — For some, it's a no-brainer: Smoking should be outlawed at the beach. Others take a more tolerant approach, saying that it should be allowed in certain areas and that other issues are more important.

Members of Keep Norwalk Beautiful announced a campaign last week to raise awareness at Calf Pasture Beach in the hopes of getting smokers to dispose of their butts properly. But why not just ban smoking? The Daily Norwalk asked for opinions on its Facebook page and got a variety of responses.

David Sherman, who says he lives in Ohio but is from Norwalk, said smoking should not be outlawed. "If you're not smoking in a 'contained environment,' then the rules change," he wrote. "And I'm an ex-smoker."

Catherine Rose Meehan and Judy Marroquin are of the opposite opinion. "Kids shouldn't be exposed to second-hand smoke," Marroquin said. Or drinking, she added. "I don't want your second-hand smoke!" seconded Sarah Ashworth Hale.

Sarah Amato-Mills, who says she lives in East Norwalk, said smoking should be banned "especially on the beach and near the picnic area by Stew's." She thinks there should be a smoking section by the bathrooms or on the lawn near the stage.

Brian Burgess, who says he is from Norwalk and still lives here, agreed with the idea of a smoking section. "People who don't like smoke shouldn't have to breathe it, but the laws have gone PC to the extreme," he said. "People are inhaling all kinds of crap every day, and cigarette smoke is just a tiny percentage of that. I'm an ex-smoker as well, and I don't mind what other people do. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Otherwise hold your damn breath."

"I wish we could get as fired up about the stuff that's ACTUALLY poisoning our children everyday as we do when we excitedly have the chance to 'punish' people whose vices we disagree with," said James Cahn. "'Driving while stupid' isn't outlawed. I don't see why smoking at the beach should be."

Mayor Richard Moccia during a telephone interview said, "My personal preference is I wish they did not allow people to smoke on the beach." A smoking ban has been proposed in the past, he said, but he didn't know whether it could be done locally or it if needed to be done by the state. "From a legal point of view I don't know if we can do it by local ordinance or not. I can look into that, but my feeling is I wish they wouldn't smoke. For some reason people don't think cigarette butts are litter."

What do you think? Should people be allowed to smoke at Calf Pasture Beach?

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