Colorado Springs smoking ban makes parks smoke-free

| March 20, 2017

The smoke cloud is lifting over Colorado. In a six to two vote last week, the Colorado Springs City Council voted to prohibit smoking in public parks.

smoking ban

Smoking in parks in Colorado Springs could carry a $500 fine. From Fried Dough.

By putting in place a smoking ban for all city parks in addition to trails and other open spaces, the city council intends to reduce cigarette butt litter and pollution, safeguard city property from potential fire damage, and cut down on damaging secondhand smoke.

After analyzing a plan of action for limiting smoking in public park areas, the council opted for a general ban on smoking, with provisions for such areas as parking lots, which don’t run the risk of fire danger. These smoker-friendly spaces will be determined by the parks director.

Though one of the initiative’s stated goals is to encourage awareness of the danger of secondhand smoke, those smokers who violate the ban can expect fines totaling up to $500 and jail sentences of up to 90 days. The estimated cost of updating park signs to reflect the new ban is $8,000, with additional costs related to providing cigarette disposal bins.

Councilman Joel Miller, who voted for the ban “purely on an inhalation basis,” told the local newspaper, The Gazette, “This is public property. We all own it and are part of it. Limiting someone’s ability to smoke there doesn’t necessarily limit their ability to enjoy the park.”

smoking ban

Sign available at MyDoorSign.

The smoking ban isn’t the first in Colorado. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006 banned smoking in bars, restaurants, and other enclosed workspaces. A main street in Boulder now prohibits smoking, and the town of Arvada bans smoking in all parks.

Colorado isn’t the first state to implement such prohibitions, either. While there isn’t a federal ban against smoking, many states have enacted legislation on their own. California led the charge with a statewide ban in the mid-1990s. A 2003 ban in New York prohibited smoking in all enclosed workplaces—including bars and restaurants—with certain exclusions, such as hotels, homes, vehicles, and other specifically-defined establishments. (In 2011, New York City banned smoking in all public parks, as well as beaches, pools, pedestrian areas, and other public locations.)

smoking ban

The Colorado Springs City Council hopes the smoking ban will cut down on litter from cigarette butts. From Steven Depolo.

The advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights summarizes the current status of smoking bans in the country: 81.4% of the US population is covered by a 100% smokefree provision in non-hospitality workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars…However, only 49% of Americans are fully protected by a local or state law requiring workplaces, and restaurants, and bars to be smokefree.”

Advocates say that these bans discourage smoking. Smoke Free Colorado, the state’s anti-smoking advocacy group, claims that 100,000 fewer people smoke today than before the Clean Indoor Air Act went into effect. And Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights points to research that indicates smoke-free laws result in reduced cancer, heart attack, and asthma rates, in addition to increased incentive for existing smokers to quit—and for nonsmokers to never pick up the habit.

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Category: Smoking Rules

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