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Prohibiting tobacco from city parks was considered and tabled by City Council members at their regular meeting Tuesday, March 20.

An ordinance "declaring all pubic parks owned or operated by the city ... to be tobacco-free" was presented Tuesday and after discussion, tabled while city officials gather more information and public input.

Council member Bob Cottingham asked about the origin of the ordinance and was told by Mayor Jackie Crabtree that the Parks Commission had provided it.

"I'm 100 percent behind it. I'm all for it," Cottingham said.

Council member Ray Easley objected. "I've read it several times and I'm opposed to it. I think it's a little too strict. We have a lot of people who smoke ..."

Easley suggested it would be difficult to enforce and said maybe smoking should be prohibited around the pavilion and limited to the northeast corner of the park. "It would be hard to enforce, clog up the courts and hard to get witnesses."

"Are we having problems?" asked council member Steve Guthrie.

"I think the Park Commission got a few complaints," the mayor responded.

Council member Lance Sanders made a motion to table the ordinance until the April meeting.

Parks Commission chairman Joseph Carleson told the mayor in an email the reason for the ordinance. "After seeing all of the cigarette butts littered throughout the park, and people spitting tobacco juice and throwing their dip on the ground I felt it was time to clean it up. Not to mention seeing the smoke drift across the visitors during our summer movies as the wind would shift while people were smoking in the back of the crowd (something that happened to me while I was there smoking).

"Kids play and watch movies there and providing them a clean park is something we should be willing to do. There is something nasty about stepping on wads of used dip or breathing in smoke and vape mist that has been in someone else's body. So, I brought it up to the commission and they agreed. And with a splash pad going in, this will limit the risk that butts and other tobacco products enter the system. People are welcome to walk outside the park entrance and do that stuff.

"I routinely smoke, dip, and vape. So this ordinance affects me just as much as anyone else, and I am in full support of it," Carleson wrote.

General News on 03/28/2018

Print Headline: Tobacco ban contemplated in city parks

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