Ban smoking in city parks? Laughable.

While I supported banning smoking in drinking and eating establishments (to protect workers in confined areas). I find it quite silly that the city of Sioux Falls is considering banning smoking in our public parks;

Another option would be to ban smoking in parks, which is what Yankton County did back in 2006. Their parks are now completely smoke free.

Yankton County Parks are smoke free? LOL!

1) Impossible to enforce.

2) Tobacco is a legal substance.

3) It is outdoors, there is probably more pollution in the air from traffic and JM’s before people smoking in parks.

4) Public parks are taxpayer funded. Shouldn’t taxpayers decide whether this is a good idea or not?

Obviously if this ban goes in affect, people will ignore it. You will probably see more butts in the parking lots of parks and more butts in the parks themselves. Leave the ‘smoker’s outlet’ ashtrays. I kind of put this in the same category of providing junkies with clean needles. Why complicate it. I would apply the KISS theory;

‘We prefer you do not smoke in our public parks. But if you choose to do so, please dispose your butts properly.’

11 comments ↓

#1 Badbenboyenemy on 01.24.12 at 1:15 pm

Haha. Asking people to dispose of their cigarette butts properly is always a losing battle. Just look at how many people still throw their cigarette butts out the window while they’re driving.

Alcohol is banned in public parks, which may come as a surprise to some of you, but I’m sure people still drink anyway.

Either way, parks are primarily designed for children and children typically don’t smoke or drink so I really don’t see how this could ever be an issue.

#2 Alice15 on 01.24.12 at 1:49 pm

I am not a big fan of more regulations but here in lies what drives me nuts about smokers who CHOOSE to be absolutely rude about their habit. Nothing is more disgusting then when you are sitting at your kid’s soccer practice or your kid’s softball game and some parent or park goer decides that “by God it’s my right to smoke and I could care less what it smells like to the people around me or next to me.” I have a father-in law that has smoked his whole life. Not once has he ever done that. If he needs a smoke – he goes where it isn’t consumed by people. I don’t care if you smoke as it’s your life – but take your habit somewhere else. The kids don’t want to smell it and neither do I.

#3 Craig on 01.24.12 at 4:24 pm

As Alice has said, this is really an issue when you are at a sporting event like a soccer game or softball game (which just so happens to be held at a public park) and people around you light up.

Is it an issue in a traditional park setting? No, but if you are in some stands watching a game and people next to you decide it is time for a Marlboro it can be an issue.

So Scott, you mentioned it is impossible to enforce. I would say it is difficult, but not impossible. If it was illegal a event organizer could ask people to extinguish their cigarettes based upon the law/policy. If there is law enforcement in the area, and sometimes they do walk through the tournaments etc, they could ask people to put them out or write a citation.

So difficult yes. Impossible no. Of course just having the law in place and a few “No Smoking” signs is generally enough for people to police themselves. Only the rudest of the rude would ignore the law and smoke anyway. I find most people are respectful of the laws even when they don’t respect those around them.

You also said tobacco is a legal product. Sure it is, just as alcohol is, but alcohol is banned from most city parks too correct? I think there are exceptions for special events etc, but I don’t think people can bring a bottle of Jack to a soccer game can they? I could be wrong and perhaps it is just serving alcohol that is restricted.

Either way just because a product is legal does not mean it cannot be regulated. Existing smoking laws and alcohol laws are evidence of that.

You may be right about pollution from cars and JM’s being worse that smoking, but I can’t say as I wouldn’t mind if they banned smoking from parks if it would prevent someone from lighting up next to me at JazzFest. It might just shift the butts from the park to the entrances, but at least it would centralize them for easy cleanup!

#4 Scott on 01.24.12 at 5:05 pm

Oh God. Next will be the ban in my own home.

#5 Detroit Lewis on 01.24.12 at 5:16 pm

I would agree about rude people at an event, they should just use common sense and ask people around them if they mind if they light up. But you also have to realize, parks are outdoor venues. The same arguments used to ban smoking in bars and restaurants cannot be use in banning smoking in parks. As for drinking in parks, some parks still allow drinking, and I can tell you for a fact that I have drank and seen others drink in parks that don’t allow it. Like I have said, very hard to enforce and quite a silly issue.

#6 Joan on 01.24.12 at 8:39 pm

I agree with Alice, that being said I have also had my fair share of beer spilled down my back at both indoor and outdoor venues from people climbing around on bleachers, etc.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 01.24.12 at 9:47 pm

I get your point. Maybe they should have a sign at the entrance to the stands, ‘drinking and smoking is prohibited in the stands.’ Many other communities across that nation have figured it out and have beer gardens that allow smoking at public baseball games that have a view of the game. Let’s not kid ourselves. People partake, but let them do it in a safe manner. Not only can the people who don’t drink or smoke enjoy the game, but people who do, won’t be bothering you. There is common sense solutions. But a total ban is ridiculous.

#8 Badbenboyenemy on 01.25.12 at 1:42 pm

‘We prefer that you do not park your white windowless van near our public parks. But if you choose to do so, please dispense your candy properly.’

#9 Shane Gerlach on 01.25.12 at 10:25 pm

Down here in Yankton it’s pretty much a joke. You should see it on Riverboat days when the vendors are smoking in the park. What are you going to do…kick out people. Same event with over 10,000 people in the park at the Beer tents listening to music…going to through them out?
This reminds me of New Years Eve two years ago at the Arena when Janitor Bob took the stage and immediately Pat lit up a smoke. What are they going to do about it?

#10 Detroit Lewis on 01.25.12 at 10:34 pm

Exactly Shane. And I want to be on the record. Anything a city can do to curb smoking is fantastic. But let’s not live in some f’ing fantasy world. As long as tobacco remains a legal product, it’s kinda hard to tell people they can’t use it OUTDOORS!

#11 Analog Kid on 04.19.12 at 5:51 pm

Why not ban only non-organic tobacco..

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