In a 6-1 vote, with Mayor Bernie Talmas the lone dissenter, the Woodinville City Council declared smoking or chewing tobacco to be against the law in city parks.
There was some discussion on whether the ban would be enforceable, but after Councilman Art Preglor pointed out the success of such bans in California and City Attorney Greg Rubstello said the ban in the sports fields seemed to be working, the council voted for an outright ban.
The subject of smoking in the parks first came up when the council agreed that the city’s parks should be smoke free but were split on whether it should be a suggestion to the public or a law, punishable with fines. The city's Park and Recreation Commission’s recommended that the City not adopt a policy prohibiting tobacco use in parks, largely due to the difficulty of enforcement and their conclusion that this is a non-issue in Woodinville parks.
To qualify for a King County program for free signage alerting the public to a smoking ban, be it by ordinance or voluntary, the city must pass a policy before September, 2012.
Last year, five cities adopted the county’s plan and declared their parks tobacco free, Auburn, Covington, Seattle, Snoqualmie and the Vashon Parks District, which have similar policies. Tobacco policies are enforced mostly by residents themselves, much like with dog leash and alcohol policies, according to the county’s health services website. This is how similar laws have worked in other places, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. People can also contact the individual parks departments, according to the county.