No Puffin’ in the Parks
Seattle Parks will impose a smoking ban in all city parks beginning next month. The unanimous decision by the Board of Park Commissioners expands the existing smoking ban from within 25 feet of another park visitor to no smoking on any publically accessible park land. The smoking ban takes effect in 27 days.
The ban will be enforced by trained park staff who will issue verbal and written warnings. Park staff will have no authority to issue fines or exclude smokers from parks.
But here’s the interesting part, according to a Seattle Parks Department press release, “enforcement of the new rule would primarily be a matter of education. … This protocol does not include excluding people from a park because they are smoking. Park Rangers would approach smokers to ask, “Did you know smoking is not allowed in parks?” and provide them with information on where they can smoke and a resource card with information about the policy and resources for help in quitting tobacco. The next level of enforcement would be a verbal warning. Seattle Parks expects a large percentage of smokers to voluntarily comply with these requests or verbal warnings.”
Previously a citation fee ($27) was proposed, but the Board eliminated the infraction fee from the new ban.
What do you think of the ban? Will it work? Is it needed?
In case you missed the Sunday Seattle Times Danny Westneat shares his opinion here.