The move to got one step closer Tuesday night when the council voted unanimously for an analysis to be conducted on whether there should be a law passed or a voluntary request not to smoke.
The city's Park and Recreation Commission’s recommend at Tuesday's council meeting 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. However, most of the council members agreed that tobacco free parks were desirable but disagreed on whether it should be law.
Mayor Bernie Talmas said he preferred the voluntary approach, to avoid city police from having to respond to calls of people smoking in the parks. Councilman Art Pregler was in favor of passing a law against tobacco in parks. The subject will return to the council and an unspecified time.
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.
Currently, only the Sports Field in Woodinville is designated as a tobacco-free area, primarily because of damage that could be caused from lit cigarettes to the artificial turf. There are no receptacles at any city parks for cigarettes.