Metro Louisville launches campaign to snuff out smoking in publi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Louisville launches campaign to snuff out smoking in public parks

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's not quite a smoking ban, but the city of Louisville is taking new steps to discourage lighting up in public parks.

Signs are going up at 15 Metro Parks. The signs do not ban smoking but strongly discourage smoking. They'll be posted at park playgrounds and spraygrounds.

"This is just plain old common sense. Parents, grandparents, caregivers, all tell us that they want their children to be able to use our recreation areas without being exposed to second-hand smoke and and litter," said Mayor Greg Fischer.

The message is simple, "Children at play. Thank you for not smoking."

The signs are already in place at the Olmsted Parks; Iroquois, Shawnee and Cherokee. Now the anti-smoking campaign is spreading.

"The risk of tobacco exposure is not limited to being indoors. There is actually a risk of second-hand exposure that's passed on in outdoor environments," said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Metro Louisville's director of Health and Wellness.

The mayor says 81 percent of park users surveyed support a smoking ban.

Ashley Tilton does. She brings her son to Iroquois Park several times a week.

"Sometimes we'll come and there'll be a lot of people that are smoking, and with the children around. I try to keep my son away from it," said Tilton.

Charles Wentling doesn't have kids, but does get into the swing of the anti-smoking effort.

"You already go there to be healthier anyway, you might as well improve the air quality," he said.

Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz emphasizes that the anti-smoking campaign is completely voluntary.

"This is not an ordinance. This is not enforceable. This is a friendly reminder that you're in an area where there is a concentration of children," he said.

But is this the first step toward an outright ban? The mayor is non-committal.

"People know it's not healthy to smoke or be around smokers, so we'll start there and see where it goes. We're optimistic it's going to work out fine," said Fischer.

The signs cost $2,700, and are being paid for with a federal grant. 

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