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Common Council approves tobacco ban in Albany parks

ALBANY -- The Albany Common Council nearly unanimously approved an expanded ban on smoking in city parks on Monday night.

Currently, the City bans smoking only in areas where children would likely play.  Council members said that they wanted to keep the air clean for non-smokers and former smokers, as many members shared stories of how they quit smoking. 

The new ban would include events like Tulip Festival and Alive at Five.
People caught smoking in a city park would face a $50 fine, but the council said it hopes for a community effort, with residents discouraging others and self-policing.

One council member, Michael O'Brien, abstained from a vote over concerns that it was overly broad and wide reaching. He also asked for clarification whether the ban would affect the citys golf course.

The council did not list a start date to allow its counsel to research and respond to the issue. 
 
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