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Puff-less parks

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Ed Shadid
Credit: Mark Hancock

The city is also seeking a state Attorney General opinion on whether it can ban tobacco use in public parks. State law currently preempts municipalities from establishing smoking restrictions that go beyond what has been enacted by state lawmakers.

City Manager Jim Couch said he will bring whatever design city staff comes up with back before the council to ensure it has that body’s approval before signs go up in city parks.

While the resolution is nonenforceable, Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid and other proponents called it a positive first step toward lowering the smoking rate in Oklahoma.

Shadid stressed that such a reduction would reduce health care costs in the state and prevent exposure to secondhand smoke.

“This is a great step forward, because right now smokers assume that it’s OK to light up in city parks, even when there are children present,” said Lisa Synar, executive director of Oklahoma City Beautiful.

“We expect that this action will cut down considerable on smoking in our parks and on the amount of tobacco litter around playgrounds.”

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