Our View: Don’t ban smoking in public parks

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Want to share your opinion?
You can voice whether you agree or not with a ban on cigarette smoking in public parks at the Auburn Recreation District’s board meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Canyon View Community Center board room, located at 471 Maidu Drive in Auburn.

Banning cigarettes in local parks may have merits for health reasons, but it is not a realistic restriction that will bring about the goal it tries to achieve.
The Auburn Area Recreation and Park District board will consider at its Thursday meeting whether to ban cigarette smoking in its parks including Regional and Meadow Vista. There is already a smoking ban in place at the district’s Ashford dog park.
Citing a recent “F” grade from the Auburn Area Recreation and Park District called for a park wide ban to help better Auburn’s health.
While the intentions are good, a park wide ban of smokers is not needed, nor is it enforceable.
The Auburn Recreation District’s current ordinance allows the district to post signs in areas where it wants to ban smoking such as by fields, bleachers or others areas. By law, smokers cannot smoke within 25 feet of a children’s playground.
These current rules are sufficient to address issues as they arise in the park.
The detriments smoking has to one’s health are well known. Those who choose to smoke make that decision for themselves. Bans on smoking in enclosed, indoor areas are important to protect the health of those who choose not to smoke.
Our public parks are large open spaces where visitors can move about and relocate if they don’t like the smoke smell.
Also, calling on law enforcement to tell someone to put out a cigarette should not be, and is not, local police’s highest priority.
The district should save bans for when they really matter.
Instead, use ordinances that are already in place to address serious complaints and concerns as they arise.