Following in the footsteps of other U.S. cities, Seattle has banned smoking in parks in an attempt to protect the environment. The decision pleased non-smokers, but some citizens claim the new rule will not be observed by all inhabitants, especially by those who do not have a home.
Los Angeles, Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco have all banned smoking years ago. This time, it was Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Administration that issued the smoking ban, claiming that citizens are entitled to breath fresh air, at least when they stay in the parks.
Under the motto “Smell flowers, not smoke”, the campaign aims to preserve the natural environment and to provide a healthy playground for children.
The spokesperson of the administration, David Takami, told the press that initially, visitors were not allowed to smoke within the 25-feet range of other park visitors. The present rule has been expanded and visitors are no longer allowed to smoke when in parks, regardless of whether alone or in the company of other people.
The campaign will first be made public through signs prohibiting visitors to light up cigarettes. Park rangers will also take care that the new regulation is being observed.
If people are found smoking cigarettes while in parks, they will be first notified by park rangers that they did not act according to the law. Should smokers continue to neglect police officers’ suggestions, they will receive a trespassing notice, which might prevent them from entering the park on a year-long period.
Takami reassured the press that smokers will not get fined or arrested if they refuse to observe the law. However, park rangers are entitled to arrest a person, if the latter becomes violent or aggressive upon authorities’ reprimands.
The Parks and Recreation Administration described the current campaign as an attempt to educate people on how to keep the natural environment clean. Moreover, they hope the ban will make people conscious to the potential health problems that may arise from smoking.
Some citizens and homeless people have been highly disturbed by the new rule. In their opinion, the new smoke-ban is absurd and it is bound to fail because the administration will not be able to keep an eye on the visitors.
They claim homeless people will be the most affected as they will not be able to carry on with their regular activities. To that the administration has argued that homeless people will be able to carry out their regular activities except for smoking.
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