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Playgrounds going smoke-free

Playgrounds going smoke-free

August 14th, 2013 in News

At right, Arthur Hatch, of Jefferson City, pushes grandchildren Haley and Brandon Miller, ages 5 and 6, on a swing Tuesday at Memorial Park. Haley will enter kindergarten, while brother Brandon will be in first grade this year. Both attend Cedar Hill Elementary School. This is the last day of the summer that Hatch and his wife, Barbara, will be able to spend with the children before the start of school.

Jefferson City playgrounds soon will be designated as smoke-free zones.

At the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Tuesday, commissioners voted to approve a recommendation to designate playgrounds as smoke free zones. Commissioner Edith Vogel cast the sole opposing vote.

The recommendation came from the Park Resources and Planning Committee, which recommended enacting smoke free zones within 50 feet of any playground and within 25 feet park pavilions, but several commissioners felt that was too intrusive and would be difficult to enforce.

Commission Vice President Marty Miller, who also chairs the Park Resources and Planning Committee, said he had received complaints from parents about smoking around the playgrounds. The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department already prohibits alcohol, tobacco and drugs from any youth sports event.

"It's kind of a nuisance," Miller said.

Commission President Denise Chapel said including the pavilions seemed a bit intrusive and noted most people smoking near the playgrounds are respectful when asked to stop.

"I'm uncomfortable setting policy in this regard," Chapel said.