Having a cigarette in Klamath Falls parks could soon result in a $250 fine, if a 'tobacco-free parks' proposal is passed.
Jerry Pantalion doesn't think that city parks should go 'tobacco free'...
"I feel like the people has a right to smoke as much as they don't, especially in an open-air facility. It's kind of a ridiculous law."
But, backers say a ban would result in fewer cigarette butts, reduce second-hand smoke, and lessen fire potential.
The City Parks Board voted 4 to 2 Thursday to recommend that the Klamath Falls City Council adopt a 'tobacco free' policy for all city parks.
"It applies to all tobacco products." Says Molly Jespersen of Klamath County Public Health. "Whether that be cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco."
If approved, the tobacco ban would go into effect on January first of 2013.
The proposal wasn't without opposition. City council member Bill Adams raised questions about the fairness of barring smokers, whose taxes help to fund city parks. Also, questions were raised about who would enforce the laws, as police already have limited resources available.
Elly Hall of Klamath County Public Health says surveys suggest that compliance won't be a problem...
"We found that over 80% of the park users do want this policy - so we're hoping that it would be largely self-enforced."
Molly Jespersen adds that Klamath Falls parks wouldn't be the only ones in the state to go tobacco-free...
"Some examples include Prineville, just in Crook County right north of us, Roseburg's another example."
Even if the law passes, Jerry Pantalion says he'll continue to have a smoke in the park...
"Sure I will, sir. I probably will. You know, it's my right. I'm not a real law-breaker or anything."
The tobacco ban will still require approval from the Klamath Falls city council.
The ban would not extend to Kiger Stadium, which would still allow ball players to use chewing tobacco.