SACO, Maine (AP) -- A new policy prohibiting city employees from smoking at work has one part-time firefighter vowing to stand in front of the fire department puffing a cigar for one hour every day.
Steven Delorge, a 37-year-old business consultant, has begun a daily protest donning a full set of firefighting gear and smoking outside the station.
``They're trying to regulate personal behavior. That's where I think they've gone too far,'' said Delorge, adding that he believes smoking outside does not harm anyone. ``I love cigars. It's one of the top three things in my life.''
A law that took effect on Nov. 1 bans any Saco municipal employee from smoking on or in any city property, which includes buildings and vehicles. Fire Chief Alden Murphy said that also prohibits firefighters from smoking at a fire scene.
Existing city and state regulations already prohibit city employees from smoking inside workplaces. Saco's new restrictions surpass those by banning employees from smoking on city property altogether.
Saco City Administrator Richard Michaud passed the rule out of concern for the health hazards related to secondhand smoke. The city has also refused to designate certain areas for smokers.
Although five of 36 full-time Saco firefighters smoke, Murphy said Delorge was the only person to object to the new policy.
Existing rules already prohibit city police officers from smoking in their cruisers and in public sight, and Saco Police Chief Bradley Paul said he had not heard an outcry from his employees who smoke.
Until the details were worked out, Murphy said he wasn't going to make an issue of Delorge's protest.
``He wants to push the issue,'' Murphy said. ``I'm not going to push the issue. I've got 99 percent compliance.''