City commissioner Amanda Fritz will meet in January with the Portland Parks Board (PPB) to discuss a potential ban of all tobacco products in public parks.
The volunteer committee of the PPB first took up the issue earlier this month, recommending the prohibition of tobacco products in all parks, natural areas, and recreation areas including the Portland International Raceway and city golf courses. The ban would prohibit all products including smokable tobacco, chewable tobacco, and electronic cigarettes. The ban would be phased in over three years.
PPB believes that the ban upholds Portland Parks and Recreation’s mission statement: ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland.’ The official statement argues that second-hand tobacco smoke endangers bystanders in open-air parks and that exposing children and youth to the sight of smoking may encourage them to begin using tobacco products themselves.
Commissioner Fritz supports these recommendations, stating that parks should be places for kids to “see good role models.”
Many oppose the ban, citing that it infringes on the personal freedom of smokers who are “well-informed adults whose actions harm only themselves.”
The ban is not an entirely new idea—merely an expansion and clarification of previously existing Portland public smoking policies.
If passed, Portland will join 64 other cities and counties in Oregon, as well as dozens of other major cities across the country, that have already established smoke-free policies.