City Council approves smoking restrictions in parks

DEARBORN –  The City Council approved an ordinance change April 12 that restricts smoking tobacco within certain areas of 20 community or neighborhood parks and prohibits smoking in mini-parks with play equipment.

The change, recommended by a subcommittee of the Recreation and Parks Commission, is designed to protect children who are playing at city parks from inhaling secondhand smoke.

The amendment prohibits smoking within 15 feet of the outermost edge of any play structure that has been erected in a neighborhood or community park, such as Ford Field or Ford Woods.

It also prohibits smoking in mini-parks, such as Cherry Hill, Dearborn High, Martha-Myrtle, Tannahill, Palmer-Jerome, Riverdale and Morningside that have play equipment.

As approved, violators will be subject to a $50 fine, plus costs. Community service may be ordered in lieu of a fine.
The goal is to educate the public and place signs in the parks so that the ordinance will be followed, not to fine people, the council indicated.

After a discussion about possibly banning smoking entirely in all city parks in 2015, the council asked the Recreation and Parks Commission to review the smoking issue and make a recommendation about an ordinance change. The commissioners responded with the proposal for restrictions near playground equipment in large parks, and for prohibiting smoking in the mini parks.

The Council adopted the ordinance change, saying that enacting the less stringent regulations was an appropriate first step and left the door open for the smoking issue to be reviewed again in the future.

Under the ordinance, smoking is defined as a cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, hookah or pipe that contains tobacco or any other product that is lighted or burning; exhaling smoke from burning tobacco or any other burning product that is contained in a cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, hookah or pipe.

More than 1,200 park systems across the country are smoke-free, including the Michigan municipalities of Ann Arbor, Bath, Bad Axe, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Dexter, East Jordan, Escanaba, Greenville, Houghton, Howell, Huntington Woods, Lansing Township, Middleville, Newberry, Petoskey, Port Huron, Soo Township, St. John’s, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Superior Township, Traverse City and Wells Township.

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