Norman plans to halt smoking in its city parks
BY JANE GLENN CANNON
June 25, 2009
NORMAN — Smokers beware: Norman officials are kicking your butts out of their parks.
The city council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday to ban smoking and the use of tobacco products in public parks. The prohibition takes effect July 23.
Norman is the state’s third city to ban smoking in parks. Owasso and Noble have similar rules.
Councilman Doug Cubberley, an asthma sufferer, said he quit going to public events in parks several years ago because smoke would precipitate an asthma attack.
Parks Director Jud Foster said butts left on the ground in parks, besides being unsightly, pose a danger to small children who might put them in their mouths.
Asked whether Oklahoma City has considered a similar tobacco ban, parks department spokeswoman Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock said: "We have looked at it but no decision has been made. It’s not anything we are currently pursuing. It would be terribly difficult to enforce.”
Travis Humphrey, Cleveland County Tobacco-Free Coalition chairman, hailed Norman’s action, calling it "a big leap as a city. This is protecting future generations.”
The ordinance exempts parking lots and Westwood Golf Course. Assistant City Attorney Leah Bunny said officials thought smoke on a golf course was less likely to affect other people.
Resident Sylvia Martin said she opposed the ban not because she is a smoker, "but because there is too much government regulation as it is. At some point, people have to take responsibility for themselves.”