Locals React to New Smoking Ban in Hagerstown Parks


HAGERSTOWN, Md.Starting next Monday in Hagerstown, smoking will be banned in all city-managed parks.

City officials say one of the main reasons for enforcing the ban is to protect adults and children from second-hand smoke.

The ordinance was passed last month, and some locals say city officials did the right thing. Amy Demuth, who brings her four daughters to the City Park, says she would not want them to be around smokers.

"I agree with it,” said Demuth. “The reason why is because we have our children here, and that second-hand smoke carries into them and they don't need to breathe that in. So I believe that the smoke should be as far away from the park as necessary."

But not all park visitors feel that way. Derek Divine and his family are from Martinsburg but come to the Hagerstown City Park about two or three times every week. He says the ban violates his rights.

"We should be able to come out of the house to the park [and] be able to smoke a cigarette,” said Divine. “[I’m] respectful about it. [I] go away from children or whatever but I don't agree with it."

Derek and his family say they have always been careful not to smoke near any strangers, especially children.

He says he does not know if he will obey the ban. "If I think I can get away with it yeah," said Divine.

But if he gets caught, he will have to pay a fine.

Violators will have to pay $20 for the first and second offenses and $200 for subsequent violations.

City officials say they hope the ban will also prevent littering of cigarette butts and help promote healthier lifestyles.

Hagerstown Mayor David Gysberts today says there are many resources out there for those trying to stop smoking. For resources, he encourages people to visit the Washington County Health Department’s website

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