Jonesboro city parks to be smoke and tobacco free

New ordinance to possibly change tobacco products in Jonesboro city parks
New ordinance deals with use of tobacco products in Jonesboro city parks

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - An ordinance passed on Tuesday night by the Jonesboro city council decided that cigarettes and tobacco products will be prohibited in city parks.

The ordinance is designed to cut back on secondhand smoke and as well as lowering the amount of litter due to cigarette butts.

Jody Long, who works with a smoking sensation grant organization at Arkansas State University, said children are influenced by seeing others smoking.

“If you go to the park to have some fun and some exercise to be there with your children,” Long said. “Your children are seeing others engaging in harmful behaviors, that has a negative impact on that child.”

Jonesboro Parks and Recreation Director Danny Kapales said the parks in Jonesboro are going to be entrusted to be monitored by those in the parks.

“You know we’re going to put up signs,” Kapales said. “It’s going to be more of a peer-to-peer, peer pressure to not smoke in the park. You know, hoping people will follow the rules and see the signs.”

If violators continue to go against the ordinance, other measures of action will be taken.

“Eventually if we get to the point where we have someone that continues to abuse the park that way, yes, there is a possibility of a citation to be written,” Kapales said. “We don’t want to go that direction. We really want people just to do the right thing and try to make it as healthy for all people who are enjoying our parks.”

Kapales also said he does not see the ordinance lowering then number of visitors to the parks.

“I don’t see it deterring people from coming to the parks,” Kapales said. “I think it’ll actually increase the usage of the parks, especially if you’re someone who likes to work out. If you go to a park and someone is smoking, you’re going to go somewhere else to work out.”

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