A parks and recreation board approved a resolution for the ban and it will now be considered by the city council. It could apply to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and options for enforcement could range from fines to having local authorities make violators leave park properties.
A Davenport, Iowa advisory board is calling for tobacco products to be banned from the city’s parks and golf courses, citing public health concerns associated with the addictive substances, the Quad City Times reported.
Parks and recreation board members in the city approved a resolution by a vote of 9-1 in support of a blanket ban in all facilities overseen by the parks department, the Times reported. Along with that action, the board asked parks staff to work with Scott County (Iowa) public health officials to draft a new policy particular to Davenport.
Putting such a policy into practice would require the city council to hear and approve an ordinance or resolution, the Times reported. Under possible rules the advisory board considered, a ban could apply to all tobacco products, a broad designation that includes chewing tobacco, snuff and electronic smoking devices commonly known as e-cigarettes or vaporizers.
Options for enforcement ranged from fining smokers to having local authorities make them leave park property.
Kim Mills, who works with Scott County’s public health department and gave a presentation on November 13th advocating for a tobacco-free policy, told the board that smoking in public parks often ends with a higher presence of discarded cigarette butts, which poses a health concern for children and animals, the Times reported.
Mills also said a ban is “not just about limiting rights” for smokers. “It’s about health,” she added.
The move comes more than 10 years after Iowa banned smoking in public buildings and most businesses, the Times reported. Since then, nearly 100 policies have been enacted around the state to deal with smoking or vaping in city parks, Mills said.
Richard Thomas, the chairman of the advisory board, noted that the resolution demonstrates the board’s favorable opinion of a ban, the Times reported. “Hopefully, the powers that be will move forward” when a drafted ordinance reaches City Hall, Thomas said.
The lone dissenting vote came from advisory board member Wendy Peterson, who said she didn’t have enough information “to even think about” a blanket tobacco ban, questioning how such restrictions would apply when the parks are used for private functions such as wedding receptions, the Times reported. Peterson added that she personally does not smoke or like to see others doing so.
Past efforts to ban tobacco products in the city’s parks have failed, the Times reported. In 2011, a similar proposal was discussed by aldermen, but it fizzled out after some said it would be too burdensome for Davenport’s police force.
Parks board members also said they want to see a final draft of the rules before forwarding them to city hall for consideration, the Times reported. The advisory board is scheduled to meet again in December.