smoking cigarettes ban
Port St. Lucie residents and visitors may soon be breathing a little easier. City officials are considering restrictions on smoking cigarettes in city parks. The only current ban is on actual playing fields at the parks.

The proposal that may lead to new restrictions was brought to the City Council recently by 17-year-old Marcus Rigg of Treasure Coast High School. As part of his senior project at the school, he presented a petition to the Council signed by 323 people requesting a clear policy on the issue.

Rigg said, "I played baseball (at Sportsman's Park) for three years and I would sit in the dugout and smoke cigarettes would be consuming me. When people are smoking cigarettes around young athletes who are trying to make something of themselves, you're crippling them. The smoke cigarettes is hurting them."

Following his address to the Council, Vice Mayor Linda Bartz said, "His presentation was right on. We do need to do something and we need to set an example for the children." The long-term effects of secondhand cigarettes smoke can be debated, but it's hard to debate the fact that the cigarettes smoke can be annoying for others and is unhealthy at least in its short-term effect. Permitting smoking cigarettes throughout a city park with virtually no restrictions is unfair to non cigarettes smokers who have a right to enjoy the park without unwanted cigarette smoke getting in their eyes and noses. The city needs to adopt some restrictions which, in reality, are overdue.

City Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Proulx said, "We have approval from the city's legal department to adjust our policy on smoking cigarettes in parks and now we have to decide what it should be." There are countless issues that City Council members can address to help residents of the city. Because there are so many, they cannot always know where some problem areas may exist without them being brought to their attention. And good ideas can come from a variety of sources. The student, Rigg, deserves credit for bringing this problem to the attention of the City Council and for the effectiveness of his presentation.

The City Council, too, should be commended for listening to ideas from an unexpected source and considering it sufficiently worthwhile to proceed with potential action. Would it be appropriate to call the City Council's action a "breath of fresh air"? Cigarettes smokers be forewarned. Your days of unrestricted smoking cigarettes in city parks in Port St. Lucie are numbered and rightfully so.

It is a healthy development.
Note: this Kent site.