Thursday, February 19, 2015

Village Board Approves Ordinance Prohibiting Smoking In Parks and Trails

At its regularly scheduled meeting on February 11, 2015, the Village Board approved Ordinance No. O-2015-04 as recommended by the Park Commission.  The ordinance prohibits smoking, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes in public parks and trails in the Village of Bellevue.  

The Village parks and trails are intended for the healthy enjoyment of all citizens.  Village staff has reported that smoking and tobacco use in parks has resulted in litter of cigarette butts and other tobacco related waste, which studies have shown can cause environmental degradation and pose a health risk to children and animals.

The objectives of adopting the no smoking ordinance are as followings:
•    Reduction in tobacco-related litter.
•    Reduced fire risk from discarded cigarette butts.
•    Preventing discarded cigarette butts from being ingested by children, pets and wildlife.
•    Reduce the public’s exposure to the negative effects of secondhand smoke, particularly within more sensitive populations including children and older adults.

How will the proposed ordinance be enforced? 

Most jurisdictions that have passed restrictive smoking bans do not intend for staff to proactively patrol areas in search of people smoking in prohibited areas.  Consistent with most jurisdictions that have passed restrictive smoking band staff is recommending, self-enforcement. However, smokers who are in violation may be cited by law enforcement.

What should residents do if they notice a violation of the proposed ordinance? 

If park users notice someone violating any of the park rules, they may politely direct them to the attention of the rules and ask for their understanding, if they feel comfortable doing so. Or, they may ask any present member of the park or recreation staff to remind the violator of the rules.

Any questions on these new regulations can be referred to the Director of Parks and Leisure Services.