Does It Matter That Houston's Not on List of Eight Cities That Ban Smoking in Public Parks?

Categories: Environment

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Photo by LawPrieR
It you can't smoke outside, then where can you smoke?
There are eight big cities in the U.S. that ban smoking in public parks, and Houston isn't one of them.

Sure, it's okay to smoke in a public park here (not in Dallas, however), as long as it's not a situation where everyone is sitting down for a concert or some function. If you want to watch your kid play on the monkey bars and smoke a butt, that's cool, according to city laws.

If you live in Bellaire, however, there's a strict no-cigs policy in part to protect the kids. That's a move health monitors have suggested we copy.

"All Harris County cities and most specifically those with coverage in the five focal areas could strengthen outdoor smoking bans to include public parks, walking trails, and public transit stops."


That was the suggestion from a 2012 report on health equity co-sponsored by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.

Should Houston have something similar? It was already a big deal when the city passed sweeping smoking bans on bars and restaurants.

Just last week Philadelphia decided to ban smoking in public parks. The list of cities that do the same includes Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, Phoenix and New York.

"I think there's that misconception that 'Oh, we're outdoors, people won't be affected by [second-hand smoke]," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.

So, what's the hold-up (here and in San Antonio)? Doesn't look like there's anything on the books here in Houston to discuss the matter. And maybe that's just the way it's going to be.



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13 comments
ajcoog
ajcoog

Sadly, these ordinances are based on hysteria which even experts in the tobacco-cessation movement have  recognized for some time as absurd. Reason, not hysteria based on pseudo-science ought to be the prevailing rational here. Those who wish to debate Dr. Siegel's position should do so with him, not me, preferably in a manner that rises to the level of intellectual discourse, not just amateur finger-pointing. http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.com/2005/11/lack-of-reason-in-current-anti-smoking.html

Optimo Ram
Optimo Ram

If we live in a free country how can we ban stuff all the time. Doesn't make sense

Paul Brownell
Paul Brownell

As someone who used to work in a city park and had to sweep up tons of cigarette butts, I would say no *if* you can convince smokers to clean up after themselves.

Rodney Barnes
Rodney Barnes

Don't like gay marriages? Don't get one. Don't like cigarettes? Don't smoke one. Don't like sex? Don't do it. Don't like drugs? Don't do them. Don't like porn? Don't watch it. Don't like alcohol? Don't drink it. Don't like your rights taken away? Then don't try to take away someone else's.

Napoleon Butic
Napoleon Butic

what next? Ban spare ribs because it gives people the winds?

Larry Herrin Jr.
Larry Herrin Jr.

As a non-smoker. The answer is no! Let people do what they want. It is supposed to be a free nation!

Robert Dean
Robert Dean

We should always be suspicious when they break out the children excuse. It's just another tool for cops to use to hassle people.

h_e_x
h_e_x

I think the god honest truth is that people here just don't care. We have enough pollution with all the cars and refineries, getting people to give a damn about someone lighting up outside isn't going to happen. I know people can care about more than one thing at a time, but I don't see it being a priority. 

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