Local News

Raleigh could ban smoking in parks

Posted November 24, 2010 2:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 4, 2011 5:00 p.m. EST

— Raleigh might soon ban smoking in city-owned outdoor areas, including parks and greenways.

Shoshanna Surxner, a member of the Parks, Recreation, and Greenway Advisory Board, said that the ban will create cleaner air and cleaner parks.

"The main thing is the health of people and the enjoyment of parks. And they are more enjoyable without smoke," Surxner said.

The Raleigh city government tried to ban smoking in some parks three years ago, but lacked the legal authority to do so without approval from the General Assembly.

A new state law that banned smoking in indoor workplaces, though, allows local governments to ban smoking in public places.

Smoker Bob Brinka said that polite smoking in outdoor spaces should be the responsibility of smokers, not the government. He smoked downwind of other visitors at Shelley Lake Park in Raleigh Wednesday.

"There's no reason to – whether you want to call it subject or impose – my enjoyment of a cigar on anybody else," Brinka said.

Other visitors at Shelley Lake said they want the government to stamp out smoking.

"Yes, go for it. We're going to have a playground without smoking," said Regina Sanford, who brought her children to the park. "I'm totally for it, because I can't stand (smoking). It's a bad example, and it smells terrible."

The decision rests with the City Council, which will likely take up the proposal in January. The ban would cover all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and snuff.