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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.

Brian Costin August 22, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I'm a non-smoker, but I think there should be at least some place where smokers can be. Trustee Terson brings up a good point. Perhaps it should be further away from the general congregation spots.
J August 22, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Yes it should be banned. Its clear that the 'law' is relaxed during BG days but people are very upfront and rude about it. We, as a community, are sending mixed messages to the group of people that we are telling not to smoke. BG is supporting that its ok to smoke at social events. We should not need to take a vote or put it as an agenda item. This is a crisis issue. Have a special meeting. THere is plenty of time for the 24 hour notice between now and then. I'm sure that if this is done quickly, the press will cover it and get the 'word' out.
Bob August 22, 2012 at 03:28 PM
"Crisis issue" LOL The sky is falling.
Terra Patterson August 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
YES! YES! YES!
Janet Sirabian August 22, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I am not sure why children are in the beer tent. The beer tent is clearly out of the main thoroughfare, so there is absolutely no reason to walk through the beer tent to get from the main stage to get to the carnival, and there is no smoking in the beer tent anyway. Perhaps we should also ban alcohol so the children in the beer tent are not subjected to clearly inebrietated festival goers. This is another example of an inconsistent message.
Elizabeth Cabrera August 22, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Yes! Please ban it everywhere even by the police station where people watch fireworks. A lot of smokers are so inconsiderate and their smoke is such an asthma trigger that I am forced to leave the area when they will not put out their cigarettes.
mike feldman August 22, 2012 at 05:24 PM
yes yes yes and I agree with Elizabeth wholeheartedly
bg49 August 22, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Berman needs stilts to smell the smoke. Time for a grown ups to sit on the board.
Mike Terson August 22, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Janet, First, there is no “21 and over only” area at our beer tent, it is indeed open to children. I often see children sitting inside the beer tent - maybe not at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, but a significant amount of time. Second, my point was not so much pertaining to the actual beer tent itself, but rather that entire area that encompasses the food tent, beer tent, and especially the outdoor area where the picnic tables are, where hundreds of families congregate and try to enjoy their meals; and, yes, where people walk through to go from the main stage to the carnival. It is impossible to sit anywhere in that entire outdoor area where the picnic tables are (or walk through) and not have to endure secondhand smoke, and frankly that is unacceptable. As a community leader, I am embarrassed that we are not doing better for our residents at the event in which we showcase our community, and I am not willing to sit silently and just allow it to continue. If most people disagree with me, including the rest of the Board, I will accept that; but, I truly believe it needs to be addressed, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t make an effort to do what I think is right. In this day and age, where we know the affects of secondhand smoke, it is archaic to not make a conscious effort to make every aspect of our festival safe and healthy for everyone there. We especially should not allow smoking at an event that is arguably largely created for children. (cont.)
Mike Terson August 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM
(cont.) I believe that the police would remove anyone who was so inebriated that they were a danger to themselves, children, or anyone else. But, if you really feel that alcohol consumption is something that needs to also be addressed, I am open to that conversation too; however, I suspect you don’t.
Mike Terson August 22, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Much of what I said and my reasoning behind it might not be evident in an article, so, for those interested, I posted a PDF of my comments at the August 13 Village Board meeting with the other photos pertaining to this article.
Abigail August 23, 2012 at 03:15 AM
No, do not ban smoking. By banning smoking, you are banning smokers and will lose festival attendees. If you ban smoking, you might as well tell that segment of Buffalo Grove TAXPAYERS that they need not attend by saying 'you're only allowed if you don't smoke.' In that case, I won't attend either. Set aside a designated area for smokers.
Charlie Barker August 23, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Yes. 1. I am not too worried about "losing" festival attendees -- the numbers aren't going to be that large. 2. Smokers can smoke somewhere else other than BD Days. 3. There is almost no place you can accommodate a smoking place unless you accompany it with a huge vacuum type fan.
Janet Sirabian August 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I personally would have absolutely no problem if there was no alcohol served at BG Days, however I know there are many people who do enjoy it, so I would not suggest doing away with alcohol sales. And I actually do not really care whether or not smoking is allowed, but again, there are people that do care and I believe that we all need to be tolerant of each other. The beer tent by its very nature is geared towards adults. If parents allow their children in the beer tent, that is their choice. And my point regarding those beer drinkers who have had a little too much to drink is not that they are a danger, but that seems to send the message to children that it is okay for adults to need alcohol to have a good time. I disagree 100% that BG Days is an event created for children. BG Days is a community block party where friends and neighbors get together to connect and enjoy themselves. There are tons of activities for children, both at BG Days and in the community in general. It is okay to have adult activities also. Children need to learn that there is a difference between what adults and children are allowed to do. Most of my friends do not smoke, but I have never once heard anyone complain about smoke in the beer tent or the food tent or anywhere else on the grounds. 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. Continued below....
Janet Sirabian August 23, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I agree completely with Elizabeth that people should not sit in the middle of a group watching fireworks and smoke. I think most smokers are considerate of others, but some may not realize it is bothersome (and admittedly some do not care). The majority of people sitting at picnic tables in the beer tent area have smokers sitting at their table. And for those who are not smoking, there are a lot of picnic tables in other areas. I think we need to learn to be a little more tolerant of others. If the smoke in one area is bothersome, simply take another path. It really is pretty simple. There is nothing wrong with having a small area out of the entire grounds where smoking is permitted, just as we have a small area of the grounds where alcohol is permitted.
Mike Terson August 23, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Yes Janet, Children do need to learn that there is a difference between what adults and children are allowed to do; however, my point has nothing to do with that. Children do not need to be forced to breathe secondhand smoke while sitting in an area of picnic tables that was designed for people to congregate and eat a meal. That has nothing to do with what adults are allowed to do. It is about adults not being allowed to harm the people around them. You may have never once heard anyone complain about smoke in the beer tent or the food tent or anywhere else on the grounds, but that doesn’t mean no one has complained about it. I am a resident and I am complaining about it, and I would encourage others who take issue with it to complain as well. No one has complained to me about fence heights or signs, but we regulate that. No one has once complained to me about the billboard on Milwaukee Avenue that has been deemed illegal.
Mike Terson August 23, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Continued... This argument of leave if you don’t like it is quite selfish. Because someone doesn’t want their health jeopardized, asthma induced, or severe respiratory disease triggered, they should have to leave so that someone else can enjoy their cigarette, even though it harms all of the people around them? There is absolutely no reason to walk through the beer tent area if the smoke is bothersome? Really? How about the volunteers working the booth selling beer? Should they have to breathe secondhand smoke? How about people who want to enjoy the music or just hang out with friends in that area? Should they be forced to breathe secondhand smoke to do so? It is impossible to enjoy a beer, music, socialization or anything that goes along with being in that entire area without getting a large side order of secondhand smoke. While I think your comparison of alcohol is completely apples to oranges, at least we have laws that prohibit people from letting their behavior due to alcohol consumption harm others. We don’t tell the drunk guy who is yelling, swearing, fighting or driving to go right ahead, and if others don’t like it they can leave or get off the road. Continued...
Mike Terson August 23, 2012 at 04:31 PM
This argument of leave if you don’t like it is quite selfish. Because someone doesn’t want their health jeopardized, asthma induced, or severe respiratory disease triggered, they should have to leave so that someone else can enjoy their cigarette, even though it harms all of the people around them? There is absolutely no reason to walk through the beer tent area if the smoke is bothersome? Really? How about the volunteers working the booth selling beer? Should they have to breathe secondhand smoke? How about people who want to enjoy the music or just hang out with friends in that area? Should they be forced to breathe secondhand smoke to do so? It is impossible to enjoy a beer, music, socialization or anything that goes along with being in that entire area without getting a large side order of secondhand smoke.
Mike Terson August 23, 2012 at 04:31 PM
While I think your comparison of alcohol is completely apples to oranges, at least we have laws that prohibit people from letting their behavior due to alcohol consumption harm others. We don’t tell the drunk guy who is yelling, swearing, fighting or driving to go right ahead, and if others don’t like it they can leave or get off the road. You say that for those who are not smoking, there are a lot of picnic tables in other areas. Where? You say that there is nothing wrong with having a small area out of the entire grounds where smoking is permitted, just as we have a small area of the grounds where alcohol is permitted. That is incorrect. We have a large area where smoking (and alcohol) is permitted.
Janet Sirabian August 23, 2012 at 05:04 PM
"This argument of leave if you don’t like it is quite selfish." is not at all what I said. I said that it is completely unnecessary to have to walk through the area to get to the carnival. My intent is that everyone needs to be a little more adaptable and tolerant of each other and try to work together toward a solution rather than each side being completely selfish and thinking only of themselves.
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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