Indianapolis city councils will consider banning smoking in public parks and expanding the city’s no-smoking ordinance that currently applies to city property, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and most workplaces.
The proposal, which will be debated in committee later this month, prohibits smoking in public parks owned, rented or operated by the city or county.
City golf courses and golf driving ranges would be excluded. This would also be property that the city or county leases to a party for a term of more than five years.
“One thing that has struck me over and over again is that there are quite a few smokers in the parks,” said John Barth, a sponsor of the Democratic Council. “And as a parent, you don’t want to see that or expose your children to secondhand smoke – especially when the surgeon general has clearly stated that there is no risk-free exposure to secondhand smoke.”
More:Senate Nixes Cigarette Tax Hike, Provides Mental Health Money in Proposed Budget
Smokers who break the ban would face an initial $ 100 fine. Subsequent violations start at $ 200.
The regulation includes e-cigarettes. If passed, smoking would be banned in all 212 parks in the city.
The Department of Indy Parks and Recreation issued a statement expressing its support for the measure.
“Everything we do is rooted in health and recovery,” said the department. “And we understand the public health benefits of extending the smoking ordinance, and we hope this will help provide families in our parks with an even better experience.”
The city’s smoking ban ordinance was passed in 2005 and strengthened in 2012, when Barth was also a sponsor, to include bowling alleys, most restaurants, bars and most workplaces.
The controversial change – a version that then-Mayor Greg Ballard originally vetoed over concerns about restrictions in private not-for-profit clubs and veteran’s halls – still exempted a few businesses, including tobacco shops, hookah bars, and satellite gaming establishments that were licensed before April 2012 These exemptions prompted local bars to sue for unfair treatment.
The Indiana Supreme Court ultimately upheld the city’s ordinance in 2016.
The ordinance does not apply to the excluded cities of Lawrence, Speedway, Beech Grove, and Southport.
Call IndyStar reporter Amelia Pak-Harvey at 317-444-6175 or email [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @AmeliaPakHarvey.