Council Restricts Smoking In Parks | Cigarettes Blog

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Council Restricts Smoking In Parks

Thinking about lighting up a smoke cigarettes in local parks? Think again.

The Hendersonville City Council has banned smoking cigarettes in city-owned parks unless in designated areas. The smoking cigarettes ban also applies to city facilities and buildings.

The ban will go into effect after officials decide where the designated smoking cigarettes areas will be. They also want to educate the public about the ban before it is enacted.

The issue was originally brought up by Councilman Jerry Smith in July. Smith said he wanted to look at banning smoking cigarettes in city parks for the improved health of all citizen in Hendersonville.

Smith, who served on the Parks and Greenway Task Force, said the Henderson County Schools Students Working Against Tobacco club came to one of the task force meetings and asked to put something in the plan to prohibit smoking cigarettes in local parks.

“It was something bigger than putting it in the Parks and Greenway Task Force plan; we thought it should be brought to the city council,” Smith said. “The main reasons I brought it to the City Council is because I don’t think it is a surprise that cigarettes store is unsafe. Also, secondhand smoke cigarettes is unsafe, too.”

From that discussion, city staff looked into the issue of banning cigarettes online use in public parks.

City Manager Bo Ferguson told the council earlier this month that a recent statue empowers local governments to ban smoking cigarettes and limits the penalty to an infraction and a $50 fine, after the offender has been warned once.

“In addition, the city has adopted an ordinance permitting the council to adopt resolutions regarding smoking cigarettes in public buildings and facilities,” Ferguson said. “We have a policy drafted that is outdated, in large part because it refers specifically to buildings that have been renovated or no longer exist.”

After reviewing the outdated policy, Ferguson drafted a new policy for smoking cigarettes in public buildings or facilities.

At its Aug. 4 meeting, the City Council voted to ban smoking cigarettes in all city buildings and public parks, except in clearly marked areas in the parks. In addition, smoking cigarettes is banned in all vehicles owned or leased by the city.

A list compiled by a group called Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights shows Asheville, Raleigh and Boone as the only cities in North Carolina to ban smoking cigarettes in parks.

The group says nearly 500 municipalities across the country ban smoking cigarettes in parks.

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