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MERIDIAN -- The Central District Health Department and city of Meridian are working to expand the city's smoking ban to include public parks.

Meridian already has an ordinance in place that prohibits smoking in areas where no smoking signs are posted.

What is now being proposed is a resolution that would add public parks to the list of places that can post those signs.

Late last year, Central District Health won a grant to work with cities on a smoke-free park policy.

Meridian Parks and Recreation Director Steve Siddoway says one of the main points for this resolution would be to reduce people's exposure to unwanted second-hand smoke.

Parks are about healthy activities for families and kids, and we'd like to have the smoking occur in areas away from that, said Siddoway.

Four other Idaho cities have already adopted a smoke-free park policy. Those cities are Ammon, Emmett, Rexburg and Hayden.

Central District Health is working with Boise, Cascade, Donnelly and McCall to adopt similar policies.

The health department and city of Meridian have conducted polls to get an idea of how people feel about banning smoking in parks.

More than 60 percent of people polled say they would support the ban.

As for enforcement, violating the law would be an infraction with a $50 fine.

But Siddoway says that this will be more of a self-enforcing policy rather than police actively enforcing it.

Parking lots are excluded from this ban, so if people want to smoke at a park, they'll have to do it by their car.

The city of Meridian has held four public meetings on this proposal so far. The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend that meeting and give comment. The city council could make a decision on the proposal that night.

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