Oshkosh to ban smoking, tobacco products in parks

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The Advisory Parks Board adopted a rule earlier this month that bans smoking and the use “of all tobacco products”  in Oshkosh parks.

The ban is intended to address concerns about litter, secondhand smoke and contact with cigarette butts by children and pets.

The proposal comes from a group called the re:TH!NK Youth Coalition, which is a volunteer organization supported by the Winnebago County Health Department.

The group had originally proposed a city ordinance banning tobacco, but the Police Department pushed back on this idea because of the enforcement problems this would have created for officers. Instead the ban will be enforced by park staffers who “will be able to impose a park suspension for any violators that don’t voluntarily comply,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff. 

The Youth Coalition said it was OK with this approach as long as it is reviewed after one year for effectiveness.

Other communities that have imposed these kinds of restrictions rely heavily on signs and voluntary compliance, and an overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites already do not smoke, the Youth Coalition said in its presentation to the parks board. The coalition plans to apply for grants to fund the signs.

“We look forward to the positive impact that this change will have in keeping our parks system user-friendly and healthy,” Rohloff said.

Photo of youths playing basketball in Menominee Park by Adam Jungwirth.

 

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Miles Maguire

Miles Maguire is the author of Advanced Reporting: Essential Skills for 21st Century Journalism. He was the founding editor of the Oshkosh Community News Network, a nonprofit online news organization whose work was cited as a notable innovation in journalism in the 2005 Knight-Batten Awards. Send questions, comments and suggestions to miles.maguire@yahoo.com.

4 Comments

  1. Kristine M. Hurley on

    This is getting a bit carried away. What about the dog s— in the parks. South Park, I believe, does not allow dogs in the park yet every time I look out my window or I am in my back yard, someone is walking a dog and, wait for it, without a leash! What about the folks who hang out by the new building in South Park who harass the neighbor across the street then the police come to the neighbors house and tell him to stop. What about the drug deals that go on the South Park or the old perverts who sit in their cars watching the children play?

  2. sorry, i’m non-smoker, but as long as u have a legal product no level of government has any business legislating what is free to use on public property….my opinion…big brother…we know what’s best for u….enforce littering ordinance, etc, not this…

  3. Park staffers….good god…give them a little authority, and see what this mushrooms into…wtf…Mark we need to chat about this…my opinion..

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