Outdoors smoking ban on horizon

Monday, February 19, 2007

If smokers are bummed about the push in Iowa and many other states to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, they're really going to be bummed when they learn about the growing movement in countless cities and states to ban smoking in public parks and other recreation areas.

And they (smokers) thought Iowa Governor Chet Culver's plan to hike cigarette taxes by $1 was a direct hit.

In fact, some cities and states have simply and bluntly boiled down the smoking privilege into two locations - your home or your vehicle.

Working within the concept of good, clean, healthy living, more and more politicians and governmental officials are joining a growing trend nationwide to ban smoking in city and county parks and many other recreational areas such as beaches, trails, and public golf courses and their facilities.

The trend is even gaining vast momentum and crossing over to include in and around all youth sports fields and courts.

In Mesa, Arizona, it's reportedly illegal to smoke outside anywhere, with smoking restricted to homes and vehicles.

As we watch the beautiful new Bacon Aquatic Center and Gillette Park renovation near completion in Cherokee, if it hasn't already, we implore the city to mandate that entire area smoke-free, just as the adjacent Cherokee WHS Campus and Community Center are now.

We also ask the city to ban smoking in and around the children's playground areas in Koser-Spring Lake Park.

Of course strictly enforcing an outdoors smoking ban in public parks and recreation areas would be problematic due to logistics. But for every smoker who abides by such a law, that's one less public health risk.

No, smokers are not lepers, nor should they be treated as such.

But there's a place for everything and, besides the terrible example set, smoking around children and their play areas is totally a thoughtless, intentional, and proven unhealthy practice.