"Non-smoking section" heads to the outdoors - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

"Non-smoking section" heads to the outdoors

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- It's no longer smoking and non-smoking section. Over the past decade smoking bans have evolved in the U.S. It started with hospitals and schools, and now some cities are banning smoking a city parks.

The no-smoking debate is still up in the air. Many think this ban is unnecessary but Jonesboro Mayor Perrin says a no smoking ban at city parks could be a reality.  

"Absolutely, we've looked at trying to figure if we want to go totally smoke free," Perrin said.

The evolution of non-smoking is pushing some cities to consider a ban outside at the city parks.

"There are kids here and they don't need to be smelling it and it stinks, " said Grady Broadaway, who was spending time at Craighead Forest Park.

"Most of the people that are smoking are typically sitting in populated places such as the playground areas," Robert Williamson, a jogger at the park.

Where kids could inhale secondhand smoke. Health officials say being exposed to indoor secondhand smoke can raise your cholesterol, clog your arteries, and increase the risk of a heart attack. Perrin says limiting smoking in city parks is one of their priorities.

"We've put up our signs there and said no smoking in that area where the small children are," Mayor Perrin said. "We've had a lot of people call, write letters and send emails saying wont you consider going totally smoke free at Craighead Forest and some of the parks."

There is no evidence that shows smoking outdoors can be harmful to others. But that has not stopped the number of outdoor bans from doubling in the last five years.

"There is no reason why it shouldn't be banned because it's children's health that is involved here," said Broadaway.

Smoking in parks could also create a problem with littering.

"I never see people that smoke always tend to just throw their cigarette butts out everywhere," said Williamson.

"We want to make sure that it's safe number one and two the quality of life in those parks are very good for our citizens," Perrin said.

A recent study by the University of Michigan shows 82% of adults support banning smoking in cars with kids younger than 13-years-old.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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