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Should Smoking Be Banned at Buffalo Grove Days?

As in the past, smoking will be permitted in certain parts of the festival grounds this year. Trustee Mike Terson hopes cigarettes will be banned at the entire event in the future.

Smoking is permitted on some parts of the Buffalo Grove Days festival grounds, while it is prohibited on most others. Trustee Mike Terson, voicing concern for the health of festival-goers and a desire to have a consistent policy for the entire event, thinks it’s time to ban smoking during the five-day event.

The festival spans the grounds of the , which hosts the business fair, arts and crafts fair, and food and beer tents; ’s field, which becomes home to the main entertainment stage; and the ’s , which holds rides and games. 

Smoking is always prohibited on park district grounds and St. Mary’s property. However, smokers can light up on village grounds unless they are in an enclosed space, such as the food tent or beer tent.

“It just so happens that the only area in which smoking is supposed to be allowed is the area in which we are selling food and beverages and expecting people to congregate,” Terson said.

“Children should not be forced to inhale secondhand smoke while walking from the main stage through the beer tent or business expo area to get to the carnival,” said Terson, who also expressed concern for guests of all ages who suffer from respiratory ailments. 

Having an inconsistent message about smoking on festival grounds is confusing and can lead to people smoking on the park district and church property, he added.

“I see this an as opportunity for us as leaders in the community to do the right thing by protecting the health of children, adults and seniors in our community, as well as those who visit it, by completely banning smoking at the Buffalo Grove Days festival,” Terson said.

“I think it is just a matter of time before this is the norm and all outdoor festivals will be smoke free. We can be a follower and wait for that to happen, or we can be an innovator and set the trend that others will end up following by banning smoking at our festival.”

Terson asked the Village Board Aug. 6 to direct the village manager to make an administrative decision to ban smoking at the festival.

The Village Board could not take action on Terson’s proposal because it was not on the meeting agenda. Directing the village manager to take action would have been a violation of the Open Meetings Act, village attorney Bill Raysa said.

The meeting was the last one before Buffalo Grove Days begins on Aug. 30. While that means no changes will be made to the festival’s smoking rules this year, they could be adopted in the future.

Related: Complete coverage of Buffalo Grove Days 2012

Village President Jeff Braiman said he’d like to solicit input on the proposal from the Buffalo Grove Days committee. Trustee Jeff Berman asked Village Manager Dane Bragg to present a recommendation from staff at a future meeting. 

“We could certainly put that together. I’m not certain that’s ever going to result in a recommendation that everybody is happy with, no matter what we do,” Bragg said.

Should smoking be banned at Buffalo Grove Days in the future? Tell us in the comment section below.

Mike Terson August 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Jan, you said: “I do not like smoke filled areas either, so I simply avoid them. There is absolutely no reason to walk through the beer tent area if the smoke is bothersome.” “And for those who are not smoking, there are a lot of picnic tables in other areas.” “If the smoke in one area is bothersome, simply take another path. It really is pretty simple.” I interpret those statements as you putting the onus on the nonsmoker to leave or avoid the smoke. I am not sure why you are so focused on the pathway to get to the carnival, so for the sake of argument, I’ll concede that people can take another path to get to the carnival; however, I don’t think they should have to. My point is that if anyone wants to be anywhere in that entire grassy area south and southeast of the food tent, they are forced to breathe secondhand smoke, and that is not right. For me, it’s not a matter of selfishness or tolerance. The fact of the matter is that the smoke emitted by cigarettes is harmful to all of the people around it. I simply do not believe that people should be forced to breathe secondhand smoke because certain people want to smoke. I am not saying smokers do not have a right to smoke. I am saying they do not have the right to do it where other people are affected by it, especially at a public event where there are a lot of people (many with children) in a defined area. That is not the place to allow smoking.
RELENTLESSCRITIC August 23, 2012 at 09:09 PM
SO what in the world would be so hard about designating smoking/non-smoking areas? Seems like an easy and straight-forward solution. Even the beer tent could have two sections without anyone being inconvenienced. The only place I'd completely ban smoking is inside the food tent. But there are plenty of other places people could sit, smoke and eat if that's what they really want. Or get a smaller tent where people can eat and smoke... Not worth the huge debate, really. Figure out an equitable solution, compromise a little, and everyone can go back to enjoying BG Days however they'd like. I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of it, but I'm usually tolerant of smokers as long as they're tolerant and respectful of me as a non-smoker. I don't think I've ever had a problem with it at BG days. For the most part, people are pretty good about it.
Janet Sirabian August 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM
No Mike, I am not putting the onus on the non-smoker. I would like to put the onus on everyone to be tolerant and compromise and find a solution that is agreeable to everyone.
Fran Ingram August 26, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I believe that any public area should be smoke free. Too many persons have chronic pulmonary diseases. These diseases cannot be seen but the affects of lung irritants can be very serious. As an xsmoker, I sympathize with both th smokers and the citizens with lung issues and I believe the health of our citizens should be first on the agenda. As for the children, I believe that they should NEVER have to inhale second hand smoke. Fran Ingram
katie gunn August 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
The article referred to smoking being allowed in the food and beer tent areas---not just the beer tent area. That means the most direct walkway (between the port-o-potties & food tent) is also an area where smoking is allowed. And unless they wade through the sea of people inside the food tent; which takes ten times longer and therefore is unlikely to happen when talking about kids; they will be walking right through that. Another point is any child needing to use the restroom while eating at the food tent will also walk through a smoking allowed area. (although I definitely acknowlege the smoking in this area is much lighter than near the beer tent.)

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