City curbs use of tobacco

Published 5:23 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

By Staff
Modified rule applies at youth athletic events
Contributing Editor
The use of smokeless tobacco products is prohibited at organized recreational youth athletic activities on city properties and/or properties leased by the city.
The Washington City Council made the decision Monday night when it unanimously amended an ordinance that already prohibited smoking at such areas.
The ordinance does 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.
Once the city educates people about the restrictions placed on tobacco use at youth athletic activities on city properties, the city plans to begin enforcing the modified ordinance. Since 1993, the city has prohibited smoking at such events and locations.
That’s going to change once the public is made aware of the modified ordinance, city officials said.
Maj. Sandy Blizzard with the Washington Police Department told the council that representatives with the department will meet with representatives of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to determine the best ways to enforce the modified ordinance. Blizzard said there are two ways to approach enforcement of the rules.
One method is to treat a violation of the ordinance by treating the violation as a civil matter, issuing a citation and imposing a fine against a violator, Blizzard said. The other method calls for treating a violation of the ordinance as the breaking of a rule, which would result in a warning to a violator, Blizzard said. If the person violating the ordinance refused to comply with it, that person would be asked to leave the facility, he said. If that person refused to leave after being asked to do so, that person could be arrested for trespassing, Blizzard said.
Jennette agreed.
Philip Mobley, the city’s parks and recreation director, said city personnel will not follow people who go to their cars to smoke or use smokeless tobacco while attending youth athletic events at city facilities.
The use of tobacco products, in addition to health risks, presents another problem, Mobley said in September.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.