Commissioners look at smoking policy for city parks

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 03:30 PM.

Where there’s smoke, there could be smokers, and that could include in city parks and recreation areas.

That has raised concerns with Havelock commissioners, who wonder if stronger regulations are needed than the current no-smoking policy currently on the books.

"I’d be fine if all parks and rec fields were tobacco free," Commissioner Will Lewis said. "It’s not unheard of."

The city does not have a specific ordinance that prohibits smoking at outdoor city parks and recreation areas. However, a less official policy does exist that prohibits smoking at playing fields, tracks, courts, concession areas, restroom facilities, dugouts, bleachers and other outdoor areas. The policy, enacted 20 years ago, states that police should be contacted only as a last resort in case of violations.

A more official ordinance could allow for police to enforce the rules and to issue citations, and include punishments for violators.

But, Havelock commissioners weren’t quite ready to take that step during their board meeting on Monday night.

"There’s something about as parks and rec that that might be an indication that you wouldn’t have smoking out there," Mayor Jimmy Sanders said. "But before we do a knee-jerk on it, let’s let the rec advisory board take a look at it and they may come back with some specific locations."

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