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City considers tobacco ban in parks

Kristin Banfield presents a proposed law to ban tobacco from Arlington
Kristin Banfield presents a proposed law to ban tobacco from Arlington's parks Aug. 11.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Arlington parks moved one step closer to being smoke-free Aug. 11, when city staff presented a proposed law to ban tobacco from the city's parks.

The Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission has discussed a tobacco and/or smoke-free parks law since 2006.

PARC has pursued the adoption of such a law with Arlington police, not only to promote healthy habits, but also to provide police with additional tools to apprehend suspects.

Public Safety Director Bruce Stedman had explained to the City Council Aug. 5 that such a law would allow police to detain those whom they suspected of crimes.

Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield added that Arlington's proposed law is modeled after Marysville's ban.

"We've also added restrictions on the use of e-vapor products," Banfield said.

Smoking and e-vaping also would be forbidden on the city's trails, since Centennial Trail is not confined to any park.

When council member Debora Nelson asked what violations of such a law would be considered, city attorney Steve Peiffle explained that they'd count as civil infractions.

"Basically, it'd be the same level as a parking ticket," Peiffle said. "It wouldn't go into your criminal record. A second offense would be considered a misdemeanor, though."

Civil infractions can range from $250 for Class 1 to $25 for Class 4, so City Administrator Allen Johnston admitted that "this will not be a revenue source."

"Given what I've read about e-vaping, with the variety of toxins that are involved, including them in this restriction is just safer," council member Jesica Stickles said.

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