Smoking ban in parks relaxed

We didn’t even get a chance to ask you about the smoking ban in Seattle parks that was supposed to begin April 1 before the new rule was relaxed. The new language in the Code of Conduct: “Smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use is banned within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds.”

Superintendent Timothy Gallagher announced the ban Wednesday, overruling an advisory board that voted against the ban. But his decision didn’t last long, despite Mayor Mike McGinn’s support, with Gallagher backtracking the following day after a public outcry.

“Based on the input from the public that followed my initial decision,” Gallagher said, “I have decided that a gradual approach to a smoking ban is reasonable.”

But we’re still curious what you think about the ban. Do you think 25 feet is a fair distance or are you opposed to a ban altogether? Or did you like Gallagher’s original idea to ban smoking altogether better?

85 thoughts to “Smoking ban in parks relaxed”

  1. It's outside!

    If you're near someone smoking, how about you ask them kindly if they would mind moving for the duration of their cigarette? Sometimes, it's okay to trust people and not make laws out of fear members of society are uncivil.

    And what if they say no to moving? You move? You suck it up and realize that you're outside and it's not really that big of a deal?

    My goodness, sounds like a bunch of cry-babies.

  2. I wish he hadn't revoked the ban. I've had issues in the past when visiting Golden Gardens with my family and people sit near us and light up, making it hard to enjoy a picnic. I hate to be stereotypical, but they're usually not the sorts I feel comfortable asking to stop smoking. It seems to me the burden shouldn't be on those forced to breath the toxic smoke, but on those polluting the air. Other states have successfully banned outdoor smoking. We should be progressive enough to do the same.

  3. Didn't Olympia just propose a $1 per pack tax hike? How are we going to generate any revenue from the new taxes if smokers don't have anyplace to smoke?

  4. I know that when I still smoked I would always take the courteous approach and step away from nearby crowds while smoking. I realize not all smokers do this, but most will/do.

    Seriously though, this ordinance is a waste of time. Who would enforce it? Its nothing more than words on a piece of paper to make ourselves feel better about ourselves.

    Quit wasting time and tackle serious issues like drug dealers, drug addicts, and all drug related problems, including violent crime.

  5. I am an old lady with grey hair. Would you feel uncomfortable asking me to stop smoking?

    I would politely say, “no” if you did. Oh and laugh at you of course.

  6. No person has any right to dictate how any other person may act.
    I don't care who you are, or how benevolent your intentions.
    There is only one rule any person must follow to participate in society:

    Do no harm to any other person physically or financially.

    Beyond that, I will do whatever I want. I reject these rules, and I reject the idea that ANYBODY has the right to dictate what behavior is allowed in public.

  7. How 'bout just no smoking near the library. What a stinkhole the entrance to the Ballard library has become. Thanks smokers. Great role models for kids visiting the library! You stink.

  8. I don't smoke and am not a fan of it, BUT, the parks are funded by taxpayers money is it not? Therefore every single person should have the right to utilize them whether they smoke or not.

    But really think about it. No one enforces the ban of smoking in or near bus stops…why would this be any different?

  9. What you describe is anarchy. Very nice in theory, like libertarianism, but no so nice in practice like in Somalia or other places with no functioning government.
    Absolutes and the unfaltering belief in their supremacy is a surefire recipe for disaster.

    BTW, smoking doesn't even clear your own absolutist rule as second hand smoke is unhealthy and doing harm to others.

  10. Tobacco is an addictive drug that kills 400,000 people a year and is more addictive than any drug that is already illegal. It's use creates a cloud of choking, cancer-causing smoke. Why do people get all surprised when it is regulated or banned? I see no reason why anyone would have the right to take a bundle of poisons and burn it, indoors or outdoors. I am sure, however, that everyone has the right to breathe clean air and the right not be forced to bear the burden of any one else's filthy, irresponsible habits in any amount.

  11. I'm sorry but I don't feel comfortable asking someone I don't know to move because they are smoking. I'm too considerate to risk insulting them. I just deal with the putrid smoke or move myself.

    Yet many smokers are inherently insensitive to others. You are destroying the fresh air in our parks! Perhaps bans are the answers. I hate smoking!!! Going on 36 and have never smoked a puff in my life. My parents are both ex-smokers, by the way.

  12. It is not about dictating other people's actions, it's about protecting the health of everyone. Second hand smoke is not contained to the smoker, it is inflicted upon everyone. No person has the right to dictate that I must breathe your second hand smoke.

  13. It's outside for pete's sake! Is there really data that show there is damage to people in the vicinity of a smoker when they are outside? If there is then the ban is may be legitimate albeit unenforceable. However, if there is not then the ban has no basis and should be repealed.

  14. You're an idiot.

    If you pay for your own land, chop the trees down from said land, and bring them to the park to chop, I don't think anyone is going to complain.

    Cigarettes are not a natural resource that “grow” in parks, and nobody is trying to steal park property for personal gain by smoking in public areas.

  15. Let's face it, no one is ever going to enforce this 25 foot rule, so smokers, you can iron out your panties. Where I'm from, hardly anyone smokes and those who do are regarded as the true idiots they are. Poison yourselves in your own home, but there's no reason to make people without a death wish suffer.

  16. Well, one good effect from a ban: it'll keep the working class out of the parks because face it, besides hipsters, who else smokes?

  17. I thought the 25 foot rule was ridiculous and I voted against it. This is ridiculous too. And no, I don't smoke. What's next? Policing people's homes to see if they're smoking?

  18. Actually, the most ridiculous thing about all this?

    The Parks Department uses two stroke gasoline engine powered landscaping equipment!

    In an hour, one gas powered leaf blower will generate more toxic fumes than a smoker will in an entire year!

  19. I'm OK to be downwind from anybody when I smoke but it's really ridiculous to complain about it outside. Just cuz you can smell a trace doesn't mean you are going to get cancer.

  20. There is no real data that proves anything about second hand smoke. The original study was debunked within a nanosecond of its being published. Reality doesn’t matter but political correctness does. Basically it’s simple intolerance on the part of those who feel they should never have to deal with anything they don’t like.

  21. Ban smoking in parks! Chicago managed to do it and there are more smokers in that neck of the woods. The fine for lighting up is $500.

    C'mon Seattle, get with it.

  22. This whole discussion is a tempest in a teapot. Any way this ends up, it's not going to make a difference in the reality of how much smoking occurs in the parks. Any ban will be no more rigorously enforced than the current farce of an ordinance against off-leash canines in the park. Oh, I guess at least smokers won't have the dog owner's excuse of “my dog is well behaved and not a problem, it is everyone else's dogs who are potentially dangerous”.

  23. I agree that it's ridiculous to try to ban smoking in parks, and completely unenforceable. I'm not even sure the police are doing a very good job with that whole exclusion zone since a couple days ago I was walking my kids to the QFC and saw a couple people in the park definitely smoking something other than a cigarette.
    My deal with smoking in parks is that I have two very young children and I find it completely rude when someone lights up a cigarette RIGHT next to us. We come to the park to play and get fresh air.

  24. Yeah, smoking may be an addiction that's hard to stop, but throwing butts on the ground is just a plain bad habit. No excuse there. (I constantly see people tossing cigarette butts on the ground when they're within yards of a trash can — ridiculous!)

  25. Then ban perfume also and cars and anything else tht has a smell. Certainly no one shouldl ever be allowed to cook food where others may smell it right?

  26. Then ban perfume also and cars and anything else tht has a smell. Certainly no one shouldl ever be allowed to cook food where others may smell it right?

  27. Really folks just be honest for once. This issue has nothing to do with litter or health. Other habits and recreations cause litter and the health issues have been debunked. It is simply something some don’t like and Seattlites can’t tolerate anything they don’t like. I have never seen a single city that is more intolerant. It’s like living with a bunch of picky children, ” I don’t like it,” they whine.

    Cops have no interest in watching for smokers. People still smoke and you will just have to learn some tolerance. You might consider it a growing up experience.

    Some are allergic to flowers. Better ban the growing of all scented flowers outdoors in Seattle.

  28. I support the ban. Alot of smoking done in the parks is not always cigarettes and may slow down the selling and use in our parks of illegal substances…but I support it evenif it is just cigarettes, smiking is disgusting and life threatening…hard habit to break but so is crack…

  29. Exactly – of course you would say no. Most smokers could give a rip about non-smokers. You care about your “smoker's rights”…but what about the rights of non-smokers who don't need to breathe your toxic fumes? And don't start talking about bacon fumes again…puhlease.

  30. You are absolutely correct. You can not smoke “IN THEM.” However, you can smoke outside of them, or in the parking lot “of them,” or in your car “on them.”

  31. I have two kidsa ged 4 and 2 that I take regularly to Shilshole. If you light up around them you can be damned sure I'm gonna TELL you (not ask you) to back the fvck up away from my kids.

    If you don't, or if you give me lip, I'll break your fvcking nose. Plain and simple.


  32. When I pull up a patch of grass to relax with a book at Carkeek,…. or find a spot on Golden Gardens beach to sit and watch the surf, I would rather not sit on cigarette butts. However, that is what has happened too many times. It's not just about having to breathe somebody's smoke – it's also about the trash left behind. Most smokers don't think cigarette butts count as litter. I'm sorry I can't “just tolerate” that. We shouldn't have to tolerate it.

  33. It is not anarchy, because there is still the rule: “Do no harm to any other person physically or financially.”
    And yes, second hand smoke DOES cause harm to others. However, like so many other people who do not spend any time in reflective thought you immediately assume that second hand smoke is a danger to you outside, in a public park. There have been some preliminary studies done, and mind you while they are not peer reviewed, they do suggest some danger is present IF you are within 2 feet of a smoker, downwind FOR TEN MINUTES.

    I challenge you to do some simple research into how much time and effort would be required to put together a review of peer reviewed studies done on the effects of second hand smoke in the out of doors (which by the way has NOT been done).

    Secondly, I want you to imagine something you enjoy to suddenly be banned because some whiny minority starts crying.

  34. I support the ban, but think it should be done democraticly, by city council vote or citywide refferendum. It is very hard to enforce, and without popular support smokers will likely thumb their noses at it. As a country we need to do a better job of teaching kids and keeping them from smoking and getting hooked to begin with.

  35. I'm not sure how I feel about the ban. I wish we didn't have to legislate courtesy. Trouble is, many smokers don't seem to care a whit about affecting anyone else.

    It's awfully easy to deny the evidence of cancer risks… And selfishness allows you to deny the instant headache I get when confronted with smoke, be it inside or out. I consider it my responsibility to avoid smoke when I can, giving a wide berth, but your “right” to smoke does not give you the right to make it difficult or impossible to avoid.

    AFTER the ban near doorways, I had to carry my small child through a gauntlet of cigarette smoke to be able to get into the Emergency Room at Children's Hospital to get her treatment for an *asthma attack* that she was in the midst of suffering. When I asked the people at the ER to do something about it, I was ignored. (She's fine now, thanks for asking…)

    However the ban on UW campus, while not perfect, has made the place a much more pleasant place to be. If you ever see a lady giving a bunch of smokers a box of donuts or other treats at one of the campus' outdoor smoking areas, that may be me… thanking them for their consideration…

    Bans don't strike me as the best idea, but I'm grateful for the movement toward reducing it's affect on the rest of us. Smokers have chosen a habit (activity, pleasure, vice, whatever) that makes it VERY difficult for them to avoid affecting others. I'm sorry it's that way, and I acknowledge that it's a pain, but it was YOUR choice, not mine.

  36. I wish I had this experience… Thanks for your consideration. And congratulations on quitting!! I can't imagine how difficult it must have been.

    I hate that this is such a contentious issue. If I was a smoker, I'd feel attacked, and that's not useful.

    But boy am I tired of smokers denying the affects on my health, and that of my child. That's just plain idiocy.

  37. When you die from something caused by smoking, I hope it's quick like the cancer that took my uncle in just a few months, and not the emphysema that took many years to kill my grandfather. You do have every right to smoke. But denying that it will kill you doesn't change the truth.

  38. The way to get 'em hooked is to get 'em young. And what's more attractive to a rebellious teenager than that which they're not allowed to do?

    I love that you're thinking outside the box, but I think it'd have the opposite result.

    I think that how young people learn best is by shame–if their friends think smoking is gross, they'll be less likely to start or keep smoking. This should be how anti-smoking efforts should be focused.

  39. When I was a smoker, I tried to stay downwind of other people, and never blow in the direction of another person (I hate it when people do that).

    But it's positively disgusting when people smoke near children, especially in cars with kids. I think THAT should be illegal.

  40. Maybe if you're noticing it affecting your health, you step upwind of the smoker? Are we not responsible for our own environment even a little?

  41. Did your uncle or grandfather not smoke and only have exposure to cigarette smoke in parks and outdoor public places? No? Then this is just inflammatory and entirely outside of the point.

  42. You bring up a good point: Why not have smoking areas in parks, sectioned off but not enclosed and far away from playgrounds and fountains (where kids like to play). That way, if someone wants to smoke, they can still do so outside and enjoy the park atmosphere, keep their eye on their friends and family or whoever, and then come back to the party when they're done. If you don't want to be around second-hand smoke, don't go in that corner.

    Sound fair?

  43. Name if the hospital could have a smoking room for employees and visitor and patients like they used to, have you would not have al to walk through smoke.

    This is why we know the issue has nothing to do with health or litter. It is simply nanny control and intolerance.

  44. Next time you're outside enjoying the fresh air, can I come up and poop next to you?
    You can ask me to stop, I might, or you can move and let me keep pooping.

  45. I'd add to your age limit increase a one dollar a year tax increase as well. If you really, really want to smoke you can get close to paying the real cost in about twenty years when each cigarette is over a buck.

  46. As much as I do appreciate your dislike for exposing your children to second hand smoke, have you thought about what the exposure to psychotic violence will do to them?

  47. Finally, someone with some sense! Let me give you all a hypothetical “what if” scenario:

    Candy bars are bad for you. No ifs ands or buts about it. They offer little to zero nutritional value, are loaded with calories and in large quantities, can help an obese person get diabetes and/or heart disease. But should we BAN them?

    Replace candy bars in the above example with something you enjoy that you know is not good for you.
    How about alcohol? Driving? Red meat? Where does it end, exactly? When are you going to wake up and realize that having the government dictate proper behavior is a DUMB DUMB DUMB idea.

    That is why my posting name is take-responsibility . Take responsibility for your OWN life and understand that telling other people how to live their lives is NOT ok.

  48. Show me a scientific review of peer-reviewed studies done that unequivocally show that smoking tobacco out of doors will cause harm to everyone near them. The only study I have seen so far is from Stanford and the results show that one must be within 2ft for over ten minutes to get the same exposure seen in indoor tests. And that was only one study.

    Science first, then decide. Otherwise, you're no different than the 'creationists'.

  49. I smoke occasionally (maybe once a week) and I would like the freedom to smoke OUTSIDE and enjoy our parks like every other tax paying citizen. I never throw my butts on the ground and pay a hefty price for those smokes. It enrages me that, as a smoker and drinker, I carry a HEAVY tax burden yet (it is being proposed) that I am not allowed to enjoy the benefits of those tax dollars? I am no tea party activist but this is clearly (over) taxation with out representation. and it sucks. Besides which, the other tax dollars that are devoted to law enforcement should go to keeping drug additcs, pedophiles and other rif raff out of our public areas, not fining responsible, hard working, tax paying ADULTS for doing something that is completely legal and…(sorry yuppies) my right as an American Citizen


  51. wasn’t coffee not allowed in the city of Seattle at the turn of the century? this own has been a nut as long as it has been here

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