Seattle smokers get new rules in city parks



Posted on April 1, 2010 at 7:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 1 at 11:10 AM

SEATTLE -- Smokers and tobacco users, there's a new rule you need to know in Seattle. As of today, city parks are restricting where you can light up.

For smokers, it's another restriction. They can't smoke in planes, in restaurants, at the ballpark and now parks.

"Well this is one element in what's an overall code of conduct," said Dewey Potter, Seattle Parks spokesperson.

But it's a revised policy. Earlier this year, the parks superintendent issued a memo that completely banned tobacco in parks.

"He believes that the public is a majority behind it," said Potter.

But then the policy was modified. Now, you can smoke in a park, but watch where you are.

Starting April 1, 2010, the new tobacco use policy in Seattle city parks is that users must be 25-feet away from others if they are going to use tobacco. This includes chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars and any tobacco product.

"Park patrons cannot smoke within 25 feet of another park patron and they can't smoke in beaches, play areas or picnic areas," said Potter.

"I try to be respectful and not smoke in front of businesses or on the sidewalk so where do I go now? Do I go in an alley somewhere?" said Ann, smoker.

"I don't think there'll be that much of a challenge. Smokers are used to the limitations on where they can smoke. And I think they're a lot more courteous than they used to be," said Potter.

If someone complains, the tobacco user could get booted.

"Punishment is that you are relieved of your right to be in the park. So you're excluded for that day, 24 hours," said Potter.

There won't be any additional park rangers patrolling for infractions; the policy relies on citizen complaints to identify rule violations.