Medford Parks Dept. seeks to ban smoking in city parks

, Posted: Thu, January 9 2014 at 6:00 PM, Updated: Fri, January 10 2014 at 2:22 AM

   Lights out for smoking at the park. At least that's the intent of Medford Parks and Recreation, who plan on asking councilors to enact an ordinance banning tobacco use at all 31 parks and community facilities.
      We wanted to know what you had to say about it. From agreement: "I don't think smoking in public places is a good idea," says Michael McRae
     To lukewarm uncertainty: "It's so open in parks, does it really affect people?" comments Margaret Hutsell.
     To open dispute: "I think it's their right to smoke in public areas," says Dalton Richardson.
    Everyone we spoke with has a reason for siding with or against Medford Parks Department. In November a regulation passed banning tobacco use in parks, but the department says until it's an ordinance it can't be enforced.
     "Everyone should be able to smoke," says Jessica Lawson. She and her friends smoke cigarettes and electronic cigarettes at local parks. "I believe if it's a littering problem they should incorporate ash trays," comments friend Justin Savage.
   They're not alone in their opinions... even non-smokers we spoke with are against a blanket ban. "I think it's a slippery slope, and we shouldn't start taking away things that are rights," says Richardson.
"I just don't see how they could it enforce it," says Hutsell.
  Still some smokers, like Chris Chisem say they see reason for concern: "You also got to think about the kids. Some parents might not want their kids around that kind of smoke."
      "I think it intrudes on my ability to breath fresh air," says Michael Mcrae, who lives in Ashland where similar rules are already in place, thinks this is a good step for Medford.
     The proposed ordinance would fine smokers an undetermined amount if caught using tobacco in any municipal parks. There is one exception... that is a small designated area in the northeast section of the US Cellular Community Park.
    Special circumstances Medford city council says they agreed on because adult softball is played at that facility.
    "I think they should make some smoking areas," Chisem remarks. Alternate approaches some believe are better than stopping tobacco use at all local parks... cold turkey.

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