Discarded butts lead to smoking ban

September 15, 2009 3:59:06 PM PDT
Public parks in Upper Moreland, Montgomery County are now smoke free zones. And it's tough to find a non-smoker who doesn't think it's a great idea.

Thousands of people find Upper Moreland's 19 parks great places to play and relax.

Township commissioners have now voted to ban smoking in the parks. The decision that stemmed from a conversation about cigarette butts littering the grounds ended as a proclamation on health.

"Promoting healthy lifestyles was the primary consideration, modeling and setting a good example for the youth in our community was a very important consideration as well," said Commissioner President Stacey Efkowitz.

Most patrons applaud the health conscious move.

"Nobody wants to breathe in smoke and secondhand smoke is really bad," said Lisa Arehart.

"None of us need to be around cigarette smoke it's not good for us or our children. I think it's a good decision," said Marci Levinson.

Nancy McDade visits the Masons Mill Park with her daughter Jacqueline. It's the last place she wants to have to worry about her 5-year-old's lungs.

Some smokers have complained that they feel banned from the park like dogs. The commission voted against designating special areas for smoking. But hopeful quitter, Carlos Valles comes to the park to get away from his smokes.

"As soon as I get in here I don't smoke at all."

He exercises here 5 days a week as he cuts back on smoking.

"All the cigarette butts on the floor it looks disgusting plus this is a park where families come and you know you don't want cigarette smoke everywhere it's just not a good thing."

Fines for violating park codes and regulations like the smoking ban range from $50 to $6-hundred dollars. Enforcement will likely begin at the start of the new season in the spring.


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