Council seeks more data on tobacco-use proposal

Published 1:52 am Friday, September 21, 2007

By Staff
City officials support ban that would apply at its sports facilities
Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council has tabled a proposal to curb tobacco use at city-owned properties where children’s athletic activities are taking place.
During its meeting Monday, the City Council said it wants the city attorney to determine if an existing state law that prohibits smoking in and at public buildings also applies to public grounds such as athletic facilities and if it also restricts the use of smokeless tobacco products. If that law does not allow the city to regulate the use of smokeless tobacco products at city-owned properties where youth athletic activities are taking place, city officials want to obtain that authority.
City Attorney Franz Holscher is investigating the matter.
One council member said if state law does prohibit or restrict smoking or the use of any tobacco product at a public athletic facility, the city should abide by that law.
Phil Mobley, the city’s parks and recreation director, told the council the city should prohibit, or at least restrict, smoking at public athletic facilities, especially when those facilities are being used by children.
In a memorandum to the mayor and council, Mobley wrote the “Washington Recreation Advisory Committee has recommended that our youth athletic activities be free of tobacco products.”
The use of tobacco products, along with health risks, presents another problem, Mobley noted.
If the city pursues enacting an ordinance that would prohibit or restrict the use of tobacco products at city-owned or city-leased properties where youth athletic activities are taking place, a public hearing on the proposed ordinance would be conducted, said City Manager James C. Smith in an interview last week. The ordinance would not prohibit the use of tobacco products at city parks such as Havens Gardens or city athletic facilities as long as youth athletic events are not taking place, Smith said.