More no-smoking zones?

More no-smoking zones?

CHAMPAIGN — There's nothing like a little fun and fresh air at your local park, but maybe the air isn't always as fresh as you think.

While smoking isn't allowed inside park buildings or within 15 feet of their entrances, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says smokers are free to light up at most outdoor areas of local parks and it is asking park officials in Champaign, Urbana, Mahomet, Rantoul, Savoy and the Champaign County Forest Preserve to consider imposing voluntary smoking bans.

In Champaign-Urbana, the only two parks that are entirely smoke-free are the two dog parks. Both districts also forbid smoking around outdoor swimming pools and in ball field dugouts.

Nikki Hillier, the public health district's health and wellness program coordinator, says there are good reasons for extending smoking prohibitions throughout the parks, even outdoors.

For one thing, she says, it's a chance to model healthy behavior for kids, and for another, "we want everybody to be able to enjoy parks."

Second-hand smoke — a mixture of the smoke from burning tobacco products and the smoke exhaled by smokers — affects people who are around smokers, she says, and many parks in Illinois and elsewhere in the U.S. have already gone smoke-free.

The American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation has a list of 921 municipalities that have smoke-free parks, and says the entire state of Oklahoma requires parks to be smoke-free.

Smoking also generates a litter problem in parks, Hillier says, and it's more than a nuisance.

"Not only is it the bulk of litter we see, but it's that birds, animals, even kids will pick stuff up," she says.

Smoking litter and its hazard to dogs is largely why there's a smoking prohibition at Urbana's dog park.

"We don't want people dropping butts out there that dogs can eat," says park district Executive Director Tim Bartlett.

Rantoul Recreation Department Superintendent Luke Humphrey says nobody has complained about smoking in outdoor areas of Rantoul parks in the past year, but smoking was banned in the bleachers and dugout of Wabash Park after people complained about smoking in the bleachers.

"We were trying to create an atmosphere that was enjoyable for all our participants," he says.

The Champaign Park District hasn't made a decision about widening its smoking restrictions, says Megan Kuhlenschmidt, that district's director of recreation.

"We are aware of the (public health) initiative and obviously we are an organization that supports health and wellness in the community, so it's something that we're considering," she says.

Champaign County Forest Preserve Executive Director Dan Olson says the forest preserve follows what the law requires on smoking restrictions, and also forbids smoking at its open air pavilions and playground structures.

The idea of expanding smoking restrictions to more park ground is something relatively new to the forest preserve, he says.

"We're asking other park districts how it's going for them," he says.

But, Olson also says, in his dozen years with the forest preserve, smoking has never been an issue on outdoor grounds.

"We haven't had a problem or any issues with smoking. Most everybody abides by the law," he says.

Bartlett also says a full or partial smoking ban at Urbana parks will require discussion and more research into such issues as how well such bans have worked in other park districts.

Both Bartlett and Humphrey acknowledge litter is a problem, but they question how a smoking ban in outdoor park areas would be enforced — and by what agency.

"I don't think that just posting a sign is going to change people's behavior," Bartlett says.

Hillier says she assumes parks would enforce smoking bans like any other violations, such as parking and alcohol.

Education would be an important part of smoking bans, and the community would need to know the parks were smoke-free through signs and an education campaign, she says.

One area the Urbana Park District has specifically posted as no-smoking is the labyrinth at Crystal Lake Park. That's where smoking Carle patients, visitors and staff wound up congregating to light up after the entire Carle campus went smoke-free, Bartlett says.

"I've seen patients sitting over there in wheelchairs with IVs, sitting over there smoking," he says.

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harleyrider1778 wrote on May 02, 2014 at 8:05 am



Smoking litter and its hazard to dogs is largely why there's a smoking prohibition at Urbana's dog park. "We don't want people dropping butts out there that dogs can eat," says park district Executive Director Tim Bartlett. Good lord dog poo is dangerous to humans and tobacco has long been used to cure worms in dogs and livestock. Besides the butts themselves are bio-degradable and are used as fertilizers on the farm! This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke: Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds. By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News. Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe. What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none. “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study........................... Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it! The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered: Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year. 146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY. A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose. Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

harleyrider1778 wrote on May 02, 2014 at 9:05 am

Just found this Who’s enforcing the smoking ban? It’s been hard to not notice the number of “No Smoking” signs that have gone up all over the City of Huntsville. Three months into the new rules has the ban against lighting up improved your dining experience or are things just as hazy as ever? Since September, meals in the rocket city have been served up with a side order of opinions. Quite a few people still have a “beef with the ban.” “There aren’t many places you can smoke and it seems to me it seems like a lot of business have lost customers, people home.” “Would like to see the city government tend to their own business and let private enterprise– private business run things the way they see fit,” said Barry Davis. Some restaurants have banned lighting up all together. While others like Dolores Cook, the owner of Dee’s Diner have been cashing in on the “ANTI-SMOKING” business boom. “It’s been real good for me, more than i could have imagined,” said Cook. “I’ve got 90 percent smokers so I had to go with my customers,” said Cook. LMAO its a business bonanza for the smoking restaraunts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RLW wrote on May 02, 2014 at 9:05 am

 Just another way to discriminate against smokers. It's outside for christ sake!

 Dont forget to raise the cost too. It was $7 a carton and now it's over $55 a carton!

 I sure would like to see alcohol go up that much. As much booze that is sold

 the state would be raking in all kinds of money!