Portsmouth is considering a no-smoking ordinance that could make all of Aquidneck Island’s public beaches and parks smoke free. The town council voted Monday to draft the ordinance, which could be approved as early as September.
Neighboring Newport and Middletown already have similar bans in place.
Portsmouth Town Administrator Richard Rainor says he’s not sure what penalty the ordinance might carry, but he believes it will still be effective.
“While they’re not going out and arresting people for smoking, it empowers people to be a little more vocal about ‘hey that’s not allowed here,’” said Rainor.
Rainor says the main reason for the ordinance is to keep beaches clear of cigarette butts. He says ban has already worked in Middletown.
“The number of thousands of cigarette butts was incredible, and after the ordinance had been in effect for a year, that had dropped by almost two thirds,” said Rainor.
During a recent cleanup, Save the Bay found cigarette butts made up one-third of beach trash.
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