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Park smoking ban: Not a problem in Puyallup, parks head says

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Sep. 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm with 6 Comments »
September 16, 2009 12:49 pm

Yesterday’s story detailing a Tacoma City Council proposal that would outlaw smoking in the city’s public parks drew a big response from readers, many of whom left comments criticizing the plan.

Among other things, opponents say such a ban tramples people’s rights and is generally unnecessary.No Smoking

But the proposal before the Tacoma council — expected to considered at the Oct. 13 council meeting — is far from original: Prohibitions against smoking in public parks are on the books in more than 400 municipalities nationwide, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation.  And several other local jurisdictions are now considering it, including Seattle.

Today,  Puyallup’s parks and recreation director Ralph Dannenberg called to explain that a similar park smoking prohibition passed in his city has led to few problems.

“We’ve never issued a citation,” Dannenberg said. “The peer pressure is the greatest thing we have going for us.”

Punishments imposed for Puyallup’s ordinance, which passed in September 2005,  seem severe compared to similar measures adopted elsewhere:  Violators there face up to a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. By comparision,  the Tacoma measure proposes a $25 fine, though police here say they’d like only warn offenders.

Dannenberg, like supporters of the measure in Tacoma, say the ban is about public awareness, not punishment. He points out that his city’s law specifically states that police must “make a good faith effort to warn persons” in violation of the ordinance before citing them.

“There would never be a $1,000 fine,”  Dannenberg said.

Since the measure was enacted in Puyallup, Dannenberg added, there’s been little controversy.

“For about the first two weeks after we passed it, we got a lot of negative calls,” he said. “But in the last three or four years, we haven’t heard much of anything.”

The measure has greatly reduced smoking — and trash — during adult softball games that take place in city-owned ballparks, Dannenberg added.

“We don’t have the litter from the butts anymore,” he said. “For a while, sunflower seeds replaced them, but even those are gone now, too.”

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Palin2012 says:

    “The peer pressure is the greatest thing we have going for us.” Dannenberg said.

    Like bush and all the conservatives that use fear as a tactic to change policies in their favor, I say to them: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” from one of the best presidents of the modern age.

    Don’t you see America when you impose your religion, beliefs, or ideas on others… there is nothing different from communism (to all you obama bashers) to tyranny or in this cause freedom. When we lose this, we are not American’s anymore. Sad but true that fear will rule us one day, I hope I don’t live long enough to see this happen to the country I love… but I see it slowly going in that direction.

    Control your fear and you will be liberated and others around you as well!

  2. Palin2012 says:

    and by the way the reason no one gets a fine is because they do it discretely… when someone comes to start trouble with a fine the cigarette is put out and gone. If you really believe no one smokes in Puyallup parks, you are in a state of bliss. you know what they say, what you don’t know makes you feel good.

  3. As someone very allergic to cigarette smoke, I really appreciate being able to avoid it when I visit Puyallup parks. When your “right” to smoke interferes with my health, then your “rights” need to be curtailed!

  4. live4fish says:

    2 comments that i see from all of this. 1. if you can’t see the cigarette butts all over Puyallup especially the parks, then these people are crazy. 2. When my “right” to smoke interferes…forget that. how about when your “right” to drive like an idiot interferes with my health, then your “rights” need to be curtailed. Grow up and don’t stand near smokers.

  5. rottenweiler says:

    might as well ban them everywhere! more money!

  6. I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

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