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Raleigh Might Snuff Out Smoking in Parks

Posted March 24, 2008

— City Council members are considering asking state lawmakers for permission to ban smoking in public parks.

The city's Parks, Recreation and Greenway Advisory Board last week passed a resolution calling for a smoking ban in city-owned parks, and the City Council might review that request next week.

"It's discouraging that we do not have any respect for children playing in the park and adults who do not smoke. It's about second-hand smoke more than it is about smoking itself," said Eugene Weeks, vice chairman of the advisory board.

A parent complained to Mayor Charles Meeker last year about the large number of cigarette butts near the playground at Pullen Park, prompting a study of the problem that culminated in the advisory board's resolution.

Weeks said cigarette butts and other signs of smoking-related trash are easy to find.

"If you already have signs up banning guns, signs banning alcoholic beverages in the parks, what is wrong with us adopting a rule banning smoking in the parks?" he asked.

Councilman Philip Isley said he finds it wrong that the city could impose its will on a person's lifestyle decision of whether to smoke.

"It feels like yet again we're beginning to tread on people's personal preferences. I think we're going a little bit overboard, quite frankly," said Isley, who is still smarting after his unsuccessful attempt to delay the city's new ban on garbage disposals.

Although he doesn't condone smoking, including at city parks, he said it is not the city's place to tel people where outdoors they can or can't light up.

"Are they going to start banning how we cook our food, whether we can use deep-fryers or not? I think (the proposed smoking ban) just goes a little too far," he said.

Under North Carolina law, Raleigh can't approve the smoking ban without legislative approval. A number of anti-smoking measures remained in House and Senate committees last year, and officials said the proposed ordinance could be tacked onto one of them or introduced separately.

If the ordinance passed, it could set a precedent for other municipalities in the state.

"We already have other cities saying, 'Hey, you take the lead on it. We may tack onto your bill,'" Weeks said, calling current laws on public smoking inadequate.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • joe41080 Mar 27, 2008

    Mitch's tavern in Raleigh is smoke free. That's awesome! That's a pretty cool place. Anyone know of any others???

    The others I know of are Poole's in Raleigh and Top of the Hill and Lucy's in Chapel Hill.

    thx Bahville.

  • bahville Mar 26, 2008

    joe41080: on the topic of smoke-free bars in Raleigh

    The Raleigh Times downtown has a smoke-free side, and Mitch's Tavern near NC State is completely smoke free.

  • seeingthru Mar 26, 2008

    has anyone not heard of fires being caused by smokers eerm ends? its a stinky dangerous habit and spoils the beauty of nature

  • TechRescue Mar 26, 2008

    I don't care if you smoke - they're your lungs. You probably don't care if I eat a cheeseburger - but you wouldn't like me throwing the wrappers in your yard.

    Smokers brought this on themselves by believing that the world is their ashtray. You can't walk anywhere, a park, a trail around Falls Lake, ANYWHERE without seeing cigarette butts strewn everywhere. As a firefighter, I wish I had $100 for every roadside fire I've responded to over the years sparked by a cigarette: I'd be in the Bahamas right now.

    In being so collectively filthy with your habit, you have turned a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise care into anti-smoking fans - a classic case of reaping what you sow.

  • richard2 Mar 26, 2008

    You can get away from smoke outside, you can't inside a building. Use your noodle for something other than a hatrack. Ban smoking inside its a health hazard.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 25, 2008

    Another step down the road toward Socialism in Meekerville.

    Next, the Raleigh City Council will ban drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods because they are bad for you.

    The Raleigh City Council has already banned disposals. What's next? How long will it be before the Raleigh City Council bans cars, TVs, refrigerators, beds, computers, water heaters, air conditioners, etc...

  • joe41080 Mar 25, 2008

    I wish we could ban it in bars and restaurants first. I live in Downtown Raleigh but I go to Top of the Hill in Chapel Hill just because it's a smoke free bar. That is the only one I know of, other than Lucy's which is also in CH. I just heard Poole's is smoke free in Raleigh so that might be a good one.

    I do think it should eventually be banned in city parks because they are more intimate where you have lots of people in a smaller space. It wouldn't be right to ban it in state parks though.

    On the garbage disposal topic. Why didn't we just ban grease from going down drains??? Why in the world did they ban disposals?

  • NCTeacher Mar 25, 2008


    The thing most people have to realize is that if I go to a park and you are already there- I am going to position myself far away from you. Not only to be considerate with my smoking, but because you are a complete stranger. Most people aren't going to come up to you and get right in your face, particulary with a flaming stick in their hand.

    But just because you are in a park and I am in the same park, doesn't mean I shouldn't be allowed to smoke just because you don't. If I am a few feet away from you and the wind isn't blowing my smoke your way, I am not infringing on your personal space or your "clean" air.

    THAT is my argument. It is one thing to put all smokers in a designated area and post where that area is. It is a completely different thing to tell a smoker that their secondhand smoke is going to kill you from the other side of a park.

  • daycock Mar 25, 2008

    Man nothing is clean anymore. We as people have trashed this planet in so many ways that we'll still keep trashing it for another century. The air we breath, water we drink, food we eat just have so many chemicals in them its hard to count them all. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean its there.

    Effects of second hand smoke in the park (outside) is so little compared to the other things we breath in. You'll more than likely develop respiratory problems from inhaling all the cleaners to clean your house than second hand smoke.

    I agree, ban it from restaurants where it does bother people who wanna taste their food. But also ban cell phone use at restaurants while were at it.

    But at the park, just designate smoking areas.

    Bad thing is some of these parks around Raleigh are so small that they don't even have trash cans. So what happens, the trash ends up on the ground.

    Littering Ex. Car Wreck happened in front of my house. Police thru the trash in the ditch. Sad!

  • supersalo Mar 25, 2008

    NCTeacher said:
    "There's another side of that argument BlueDevilFan-And I shouldn't be forced to put out my perfectly legal cigarette just to keep from offending your delicate sensibilities."

    And as a non-smoker, I shouldn't be forced to breathe in smoke, either. If I'm sitting somewhere, and you (smoker) come up and start smoking, you're impacting the air I'm breathing. If you want to inhale smoke, knock yourself out. But you don't have the right to affect the air that I'm breathing. You smoking nearby is directly affecting me.

    And another note. Why are smokers so lazy that they feel it's ok to throw their cigarette butts on the ground or out the car window? You have an ashtray in the car! Who do they think is going to come by and clean them up? Would you throw them on the floor inside your house? Then why would you do it in the park or while driving?