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Oakwood council passes outdoor smoke-free law

Published: Tuesday, November 04, 2014 @ 9:51 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 04, 2014 @ 9:51 AM
By: Drew Simon - Staff Writer

An ordinance in Oakwood that would allow law enforcement to fine people who are smoking at some outdoor city-owned property was passed by city council by a 5-0 vote, making it the fourth city in the state to adopt such legislation.

The law, which will go into effect in 30 days, prohibits smoking and e-cigarettes at public parks, public natural areas, or around the city building, public works center and community center.

“We don’t see there being a lot of problem with this, frankly I think most people understand it and will embrace it,” said Norbert Klopsch, Oakwood city manager. “We would enforce it on a warning basis and only if there’s a repeated problem with a particular person would we actually go into writing a citation.”

Violators would face a citation of $10 or less for the first violation, $50 for a second offense and $150 for a third or subsequent offenses. If a violator refuses to cease smoking when requested to do so by police they could be fined up to $250 and face jail time of up to 30 days.

“I feel like the park is where all the kids are coming to play,” said Kristina Marcus, an Oakwood resident who was playing with her daughter at Shafor Park Tuesday afternoon. “You can smell smoke even many, many feet away. It doesn’t have to be in an enclosed space.”

Russell Humphrey is a manager at The Market, a smoke shop on Wilmington Pike in Kettering, and opposes the idea of legislating tobacco-free parks.

“For you to come in and legislate your belief in their health is wrong,” Humphrey said. “I really don’t think the solution is to ban and fine.”

Kettering city officials, similarly, will implement tobacco free zones at its city park playgrounds, seating areas and bleachers starting Nov. 11, according to Mary Beth Thaman, director of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. Fines, however will not be imposed on violators, instead the policy will ask for voluntary compliance.

“We are doing park zones primarily because of enforcement,” Thaman said. “Many of our residents felt like it would be impossible to enforce.”

“Young Lungs at Play” and “Tobacco Free Zone” signs will be installed at Kettering parks and outside other city-owned facilities.

Thaman said the city has 100 percent support from youth sport associations and the Kettering Police Department.

“We are trying to create those zones so that kids aren’t exposed to second hand smoke,” Thaman said.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County has worked on policies and legislation with area communities since a survey last spring revealed that the majority of survey takers supported tobacco-free parks.

Dayton created the first smoke-free park when it banned smoking at Cooper Park in downtown Dayton mid-July.