Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tobacco ban in parks approved

Newton Citizen
Crystal Tatum

COVINGTON -- Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a ban on use of all tobacco products in county parks, effective April 1.

#Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey said the purpose of the ban is to discourage youths from using tobacco and teach them the disadvantages of using.

#Attorneys with the state Department of Health have reviewed the ordinance and given their approval, Hailey said, meaning the county qualifies to apply for grants to fund signs and brochures to notify and educate the public on the ban.

During citizens' comments at the end of the meeting, which followed commissioners' vote, Julie Anderson, a member of CASAA, The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, said it doesn't make sense to include smokeless tobacco and smoke-free products in the ordinance. Electronic cigarettes have not been shown to be a danger as far as secondhand smoke, she said. Anderson said she smoked two packs a day for 35 years and, "If it weren't for these I'd still be smoking, so it's important to get people to quit, but taking away an alternative for them that's not harmful for bystanders is sometimes, I think, shortsighted."

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