Smoking ban proposed for local parks

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Even on cold winter days, our parks draw visitors to do a number of things, but very soon one activity which may be forbidden is smoking.

About a year ago, the parks departments of three local governments, Reno, Sparks and Washoe County, were given a presentation by the county health department proposing a ban on smoking in the parks.

Since then all three have been moving toward that end.

The Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation polled the public on the idea.
"Upon which they asked the simple question, 'Should the parks be smoke free?'" says Reno Parks Director Andy Bass, "and the overwhelming response to those surveys was positive."

So, Reno's Recreation and Parks Commission has voted to recommend an ordinance to the city council.

"At this point it's only a recommendation," says Bass. "The city council will have the opportunity to give feedback and give us direction on what they want to do on this issue."

The main concern isn't surprising. It's the public health hazard posed by second-hand smoke, but Bass says there's a secondary issue.

"Removing cigarette butts is a major job that we struggle to keep up with, quite frankly."

Enforcement would be through posted signs and social pressure, but would stop there.

"It would be an undue burden to expect Reno police officers would be patrolling parks looking for people smoking. That's not our goal. The goal is just to bring awareness and to hopefully have conscience to make sure that they're not smoking around people or the public."

Violators would face a notice, warning and possible eviction from the parks.

The matter hasn't been scheduled yet, but the city council could take it up in late March. The Sparks City Council should get a similar proposal then as well. The county should follow in the next month or so.

By the way, vaping would be included in the ban and and marijuana smoking is currently illegal in the parks and most other places outside the home. This proposal wouldn't change any of that.