Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Proposed Limited Smoking Ban in Parks Revised by Key Council Committee
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Smoking would be banned in some picnic areas and play fields, but not throughout city parks, under a vote yesterday by the Arts, Health and Humanities Committee.
Councilwoman Jan Perry and Department of Recreation and Parks staff told the committee that the limited ban was a more realistic and reasonable approach to smoking.
“We amended the motion because we felt limited smoke-free zones were more enforceable than the curb-to-curb bans,” James Combs, assistant general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks, said. “It is a policy that is based in reality and can be enforced on a day-to-day basis. It also protects the interests of smokers in city parks.”
Perry originally favored a curb-to-curb ban but supported the amended motion, since it still protects children and parents.
“In my visits to city parks, I’ve seen children taking cigarette butts, playing with them and putting them in their mouths, and people smoking on benches near children,” Perry said. “I want people to enjoy parks without health risks. As well, we have a responsibility to be good role-models for kids.”
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.
The motion is likely to pass City Council and then become law, Perry and Combs said. Before the policy goes into effect in Los Angeles parks, signs that will cost around $10,000 must first be made.
As to the complaints from those who oppose even the limited ban, Perry said:
“They should give it a chance. It is a policy that is pro-community and pro-public health.”
Locally, smoking is banned 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.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company