HomeMarlton NewsOfficials consider smoking ban in parks

Officials consider smoking ban in parks

Evesham Township officials are exploring the option of a smoking ban in recreational parks.

Council decided to draft the ordinance in response to multiple complaints of people smoking around spectators at events and discarding butts on the turf field at Memorial Park, which can damage the synthetic grass, according to township manager Bill Cromie.

“Obviously, the smokers are around small children, too,” Cromie said.

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The township council supports the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, better known as D.A.R.E.

“I got a letter back in mid-March from a fourth grader from the Jaggard school. It was a wonderful letter, and it got me thinking about what we need to do to make the area cleaner and safer for all our kids,” Mayor Randy Brown said. “We can start with some of our parks and fields.”

Township officials are following the path of Cherry Hill and Voorhees, which both passed smoking bans on township-owned property. Evesham will only restrict smoking in public parks and recreational areas, though.

According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, as of April 5, there are 3,876 municipalities with laws in effect that restrict where smoking is allowed.

Camden County Parks also has a “no smoking” policy.

According to Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash, the county established the park smoking ban last year. Nash said the county decided to move forward with the ban because of the health risks associated with second-hand smoke. He said it also eliminated cleaning cigarette butts.

Evesham Township’s draft ordinance would ban smoking in 25 of the township’s public parks and recreation areas.
“It includes places the size of Memorial Sports Complex to a neighborhood park with a basketball court and a small playground,” Cromie said.

According to the draft ordinance, the township believes the general health and well-being of its residents is a top priority, and banning smoking in public parks and recreation areas would benefit everyone.

“We feel these other spectators should not be subjected to the smoking area, which is why we picked the public parks,” Cromie said. “We’re thinking it’s necessary to protect our spectators at sporting events and those using our parks and recreation areas.”

According to Cromie, those caught smoking within the restricted areas will be penalized, including fines.

The ordinance is slated to take effect following the second reading.

“We have very reasonable residents in Evesham. We’re talking about parks; we have kids playing at a playground or playing
sports. I think the understanding is kids should have not to inhale second-hand smoke,” Brown said.

The township council plans to introduce the ordinance at the next meeting on April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the municipal building, located at 984 Tuckerton Road.

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