"Non-smoking section" heads to the outdoors

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- It's nolonger smoking and non-smoking section. Over the past decade smoking bans haveevolved in the U.S. It started with hospitals and schools, and now some cities arebanning smoking a city parks.

The no-smoking debate is still up in the air. Many think this ban is unnecessary but JonesboroMayor 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 somecities to consider a ban outside at the city parks.

"There arekids 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 thepeople that are smoking are typically sitting in populated places such as theplayground areas," Robert Williamson, a jogger at the park.

Where kidscould inhale secondhand smoke. Health officials say being exposed to indoor secondhandsmoke can raise your cholesterol, clog your arteries, and increase the risk of aheart attack. Perrinsays limiting smoking in city parks is one of their priorities.

"We've putup our signs there and said no smoking in that area where the small childrenare," Mayor Perrin said. "We've had alot of people call, write letters and send emails saying wont you considergoing totally smoke free at Craighead Forest and some of the parks."

There is noevidence that shows smoking outdoors can be harmful to others. But that has notstopped the number of outdoor bans from doubling in the last five years.

"There is noreason why it shouldn't be banned because it's children's health that isinvolved here," said Broadaway.

Smoking inparks could also create a problem with littering.

"I never seepeople that smoke always tend to just throw their cigarette butts outeverywhere," said Williamson.

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

A recent studyby the University of Michigan shows 82% of adults support banning smoking incars with kids younger than 13-years-old.

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