Possible ban on smoking for Lincoln parks

By: Ashley Harding

Smoking is already banned in public buildings, but some parents feel parks and trails should be smoke–free too.

The main concern from parents has been about kids breathing in second-hand smoke while at the park. Some say banning it is a good idea, while others disagree. Either way, smoke is still present at public parks, even where our children play. “We totally either have to leave or get to the opposite end of the park. You still smell it if the breeze is coming in that direction. It stinks,” said Lincoln resident, Becky Borrell.

Public buildings have been off limit to smokers since 2005, and according to the Health Department officials, since that ban went into effect they have seen an increase in requests that would expand the ban to parks, trails and playgrounds. The main concern is second-hand smoke.

“Right now, we have about 84% of the community that doesn't smoke, and 16% that does. So we really want to hear from the community and have them tell us what their preference is for the city park areas,” said Judith Halstead from the Health Department.

Right now, the Health Department is putting together a committee on how to go about hearing from residents and they want to hear from you. While some say banning is the right approach, others aren't so sure.

“I think it's a lot to ask for people not to be able to smoke outside in a public place. I understand there's children around and stuff but I think it's a bit much to ask for that,” said Lincoln resident, Traci Yrle.

Health Department officials say they hope to have that committee together by the end of the year. In the meantime, they want your input. You can either contact them or public parks to get your voice heard.