Tobacco ban proposed for Klamath Falls parks

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Lighting up a cigarette in a Klamath Falls city park could soon cost you a $250 fine.

Klamath Falls City Manager Nathan Cherpeski explains that the new tobacco law would extend a ban that’s already in place for park play areas in Klamath Falls.  “So this is actually an ordinance, and will prohibit smoking and tobacco use throughout the entire park.”

The tobacco ban would extend to all tobacco products, including chew, and include vaping and cannabis use.

Kathy Height is a smoker, but isn’t opposed to having a ban in place.  “I think it should be, if there’s children around – and cigarette butts are dirty, it’s bad for the environment.”

But not everyone is in favor.

“We’re out in public.”  Notes Joseph Barkley.  “We’re out in the open air – and I don’t think it should affect anybody.”

“I don’t think they should illegalize smoking cigarettes and stuff in the park.”  Adds Jesse Richardson.  “What about homeless people?  They don’t got a home to go smoke it in.”

Police are likely to give warnings, rather than tickets – but repeat offenders could get a $250 citation to appear in municipal court.

If the ordinance is passed, Cherpeski says the city will post warning signs.  “Most people will obey the signs, we found that we had a lot of success with the signage around the play areas, and so it’s just continuing that healthy push.”

Joseph Barkley agrees.  “There’s people around here that’s going to be enforcing it.  It’s not going to be the cops, I would think – but they’re going to have to do their job.”

The ban would extend to all city owned parks, marinas, and cemeteries.

The ordinance will go before city council for a second and final reading on June 4th.

Efforts to enact the ordinance were spearheaded by the Blue Zones Project, and Healthy Klamath.

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