Broken Arrow Considers Banning Tobacco At City Parks

Sunday, April 6th 2014, 8:03 pm
By: News On 6

Broken Arrow parks could be tobacco free by the end of summer.

The city is considering banning tobacco products from all of its 38 parks.

The city says it should be done to prevent litter like cigarette butts from covering the park grounds, the other is to protect the kids who go there to play.

Kristen Griffiths comes to Jackson Park with her two sons several times a week.

Safe to say, she's a big fan of Broken Arrow parks.

"I love them," she said. "They are great. Shade, accessibility."

The city of Broken Arrow is considering a tobacco ban in all its parks. Under it, you could get caught with chewing tobacco or cigarettes and you could face a small fine.

Griffiths likes the idea, saying it's important to keep tobacco smoke away from her children.

"Obviously, the health of my children is my No. 1 concern, so not having tobacco near, I'm concerned with their health, so I would like to see that happen," she said.

"We know that second-hand smoke has a profound effect, especially on kiddos with asthma," Tobacco Free Coalition's Dr. Chris Sudduth said.

Sudduth said 6,000 Oklahomans will die this year from a tobacco-related illness and 500 of them will never have used tobacco.

He also points to what can be found on the park grounds -- discarded cigarette butts easily can find their way into the mouths of toddlers.

"Place where community can take place and where people can choose to a live a healthier lifestyle is in a park, and that's what parks were designed for," Sudduth said.

Broken Arrow's parks and recreation director said the ordinance still is being drawn up, and once that's done, it would go before the city council.

Scott Esmond says Broken Arrow residents seem to be in support of the ban.

"What we're hearing so far is mostly positive feedback to implement a tobacco-free ordinance," Esmond said.

Griffiths said the ban is good idea and hopes those who may oppose it look at the little ones who use the parks.

"I'm a teacher," Griffiths said. "I speak for the children, so that's what I would keep in mind."

Esmond said the city has yet to decide if that ban will include electronic cigarettes.

He said they simply need to do more research.