Tobacco ban urged for Davenport parks

Tobacco ban urged for Davenport parksDAVENPORT, Iowa: A Davenport board wants tobacco products banned from the city’s parks and golf courses, citing public health concerns.

The parks and recreation board members voted 9-1 for a resolution calling for a ban in all facilities overseen by the parks department. The board asked staffers to work with Scott County health officials to draft a policy for Davenport. The final decision would come from the City Council.

Kim Mills, who works with Scott County’s public health department, said during a presentation to the board that discarded cigarette butts often mount up in parks, which she said poses a health concern for children and animals.

A ban is “not just about limiting rights” for smokers, Mills said. “It’s about health.”

The ban considered by the board would apply to all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco, snuff and electronic smoking devices, according to the Quad-City Times. Enforcement options included fines and banishment from parks and golf courses.

The proposal comes more than 10 years after the state banned smoking in public buildings and most businesses. Since then, Mills said, nearly 100 policies have been enacted around the state to deal with smoking or vaping in city parks.

Past efforts to ban tobacco products from Davenport’s parks have failed. The City Council discussed such a proposal in 2011 but didn’t adopt it after concluding it would be too burdensome for Davenport’s police force.

The lone dissenting vote came from Wendy Peterson, who represents the 6th Ward. She said she wanted more information before she could back a tobacco ban, including whether it would apply when city parks are used for private functions such as wedding receptions. AP

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