Board Considers Ban On Smoking In City Parks

SPOKANE — If you’re a smoker, where you’re allowed to light up in public is pretty limited. Now smokers may have to cross off Spokane City parks from their list.

A new policy could be approved next month by the Spokane Parks Board. If passed, it would prohibit smoking in all city parks. Some argue that the new policy would alienate park goers.

“You’re taking a section of the population and saying you can’t use the park,” said Ron Brown.

City park playgrounds, golf clubhouses and golf buildings are already tobacco-free zones.

“I’m not a smoker myself and I don’t particularly care for breathing in smoke, but I think everybody’s tax dollars pay for the park so everybody should be able to utilize it,” said Brown.

In two weeks, the parks board could vote in favor of a “tobacco-free parks” policy. It’s a prospect Tawna Walker welcomes.

“Our kids are playing here and it’s nice not to have that in the air, so I’m all for it,” she said.

Even self-proclaimed smoker Brandy Johnson isn’t up in arms about the proposed rule. She’s got a young daughter and says she understands that kids, smoking, and parks don’t mix.

“It’s good, you don’t need to smoke around kids, I have no problems moving somewhere else to smoke,” said Brandy.

According to a press release sent out by the City of Spokane. the new policy is being considered because the park board believes tobacco use is unhealthy and detrimental to adults and kids.

Officials hope the ban will also save time and money by eliminating the need to clean up cigarette butts.

Still others are unsure how saving time and money cleaning up cigarette litter will help offset the cost of enforcing the ban.

“You can’t police the whole park,” said Ron Nash, who disagrees with the ban.

Nash, a former smoker, isn’t convinced that the policy will work.

“What I think they should do is not have a complete ban, but for the sake of young ones and people like me, cut off some areas but have an area where [smokers] can go,” he said.

The parks board plans to formally vote on the policy April 9th.