Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 17, 2001


Page 8


Limited Smoking Ban in City Parks Moves One Step Closer to Reality


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The City Council on Friday called on the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to prohibit smoking in all sports fields, courts and permitted picnic areas of all city parks.

The limited smoking ban passed the Arts, Health and Humanities Committee last month and replaced a more stringent ban that would have prohibited smoking in all areas of the parks.

In June, the Recreation and Parks Commission approved the concept of “smoke-free zones” at or near children’s play areas and ball diamonds.  The current motion extends the zones to include all playing courts, such as those for basketball and handball. It would also include picnic areas where a permit is required-usually areas with barbecue pits that are used for large parties.  Non-permitted picnic areas would not be included.

There was no comment on the item from any council member at the meeting. 

“We are very excited for this,” Sonya Vasquez, director of the Committee for Smoke-Free Parks, largely funded by the Los Angeles County Tobacco Control Program, told the MetNews.  “This whole arena of smoke-free areas is new.  This is an important step, because we created smoke-free areas for adults in bars and sports venues and now the kids can have smoke-free areas in parks.”

As to the opponents of even the limited ban, Vasquez said:

“It is important to remember that what we are talking about is a healthy environment for kids, safe of negative substances like tobacco.” 

The new ban, if passed, would join the smoking bans in all outdoor areas and food courts of the Los Angeles Zoo, all areas of Beverly Hills parks and many mountainous parks such as Griffith Park.

So far the city has around $10,000, which was provided by the Committee for Smoke Free-Parks, to construct the new signs banning smoking, Vasquez said. 

However, that cost was estimated for signs in bleacher areas and playgrounds only, not the permitted picnic areas and other playing courts.  The additional funds for the signs probably won’t be coming from the Committee for Smoke Free Parks although they will help find the funds, Vasquez said.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company