"It negatively affects business when you have your doors open and there's smoke coming through the doors," says Melissa Desautels, Owner of Whim. "It's definitely my customers' number one complaint."
The Church Street Marketplace Commission has proposed a rule to ban smoking from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. A survey by the Commission shows 76 percent of businesses want the ban. That percent has increased from 54 percent in 2011.
"Originally, I was not in favor of this idea, but the more time you spend on Church Street and my office is down here now, there's a huge concentration of smokers," says Church Street Marketplace Commission Chair Jeff Nick.
Unlike the previous proposal in 2012, which encompassed all of downtown Burlington, this ban would stretch only on Church Street from Pearl Street to Main Street. It also would prohibit smoking outside of cafes.
"Since we banned smoking in bars and restaurants, we've had an increased level of smoke on our streets and sidewalks, particularly in the packed downtown areas," says Burlington City Council President Joan Shannon. "Imposing that on those of us who choose not to is where the problem is."
Potential health effects are not the only concern. nick says nine-thousand dollars a year is spent cleaning up cigarette butts. The smoking ban resolution will be discussed at next week's city council meeting.
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