By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV

LOUDON, NH (CBS) – The New Hampshire Motor Speedway is now banning smoking in the grandstand seating area.

According to track officials, smoking is one of its top two complaints. Smoking will still be allowed in other areas.

“I think it’s ludicrous,” said Robert Dorley of Laconia, NH. “People smoke, so what? Especially in that atmosphere, you’re going to be breathing in those fumes all the time anyway, what’s the difference.”

The new policy goes into effect immediately.

“The new norm in society today is smoke-free public places,” said Jerry Gappens, the speedway’s executive vice president and general manager. “It’s been implemented in bars, restaurants, others sports venues throughout New England.”

The goal of the new policy is to decrease exposure to second-hand smoke as well as to draw in more families to develop a younger fan base.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Kimberly Paul of Belmont, NH. “We do have children around here, it’s a family event so I mean it’s healthier for the children to breathe in fresh air and not filtered smoke.”

The new policy has ignited a storm of reaction on the track’s Facebook page.

One fan posted: “Thank you for going no smoking in the stands…it will be great sitting there in July and  September and not have smoke blown in my face.”

But others are threatening not to return.

One person wrote: “You just lost a long-time customer. A 10-year family tradition ends today.”

The new policy affects all events at the venue.

“I ask people to try it,” said Gappens.


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