Buffalo Grove village trustees overwhelmingly rejected calls for a complete ban on smoking at the community's Labor Day weekend festival, Buffalo Grove Days, but restrictions on smokers could be in place by the time this year's edition kicks off Aug. 29.
The push for the ban was led by Trustee Michael Terson, who raised concerns over how secondhand smoke could affect festival visitors.
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"Just because someone chooses to smoke cigarettes does not mean they have the right to force other people to breathe their second hand smoke," he said. "I believe we have an obligation to protect the health and welfare of residents and guests who choose to attend our event, over any perceived obligation to provide smokers, whether they are patrons or they are vendors, with an area to smoke," Terson added. "Restaurants don't do that. The park district doesn't do it. And I don't believe we need to do it."
He noted that there is a village ordinance prohibiting dogs at public festivals.
"Why? Because we have determined that dogs within a crowd of people can cause an unsafe condition," he said.
Trustee Jeffrey Berman said he appreciates Terson's comments, and shares his distaste for secondhand smoke. However, he added, the village needs to find a middle path to accommodate both smokers and nonsmokers.
"The problem is that we have a significant number of people in our community who are still smokers," Berman said. "Smoking is still a lawful activity. We have a number of people who attend this event or who want to attend this event who are smokers. We have a number of people who are involved in the event who are smokers."
Village Finance Director Scott Anderson said a complete ban would be difficult to monitor and cause problems in areas surrounding the festival grounds and for vendors who cannot leave the grounds.
Instead of a ban, trustees asked village staff to put together a plan setting up designated smoking areas on the festival grounds.