Pascagoula considers banning people from lighting up in public parks

Pascagoula considers banning people from lighting up in public parks

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A strong push is underway for Pascagoula Parks to go smoke free. Two years ago, the city passed a ban on smoking at all restaurants, worksites, and indoor public places. Now, city leaders are targeting recreational sites.

Lighting up at Beach Park in Pascagoula could soon be banned and some parents like the idea. They feel if they don't smoke around their kids, no one else should.

"I am a smoker, but I think it is good they don't smoke around the kids like at the park and stuff. I think it is good they should do that," said a parent at the park.

Some residents also point out that taking a puff produces secondhand smoke.

"Secondhand smoke is worse off than firsthand smoke and that's bad for kids and what have you. They get all the effects of it," said parent Wanda Turner.

"Nothing spoils my day than to pass by somebody and I have to inhale their smoke and the life they save may be their own if they are required to quit smoking. So I would be willing to support a ban on smoking in public parks," said local pastor Larry Hawkins.

Not everyone is in favor of taking away people's right to enjoy a cigarette at the public recreational area.

"We have relatives who smoke and they come to the park. They don't have kids around them and everything is fine. So no, I don't think so," said park visitor Carmen Butler.

Parks and Recreation Director Darcie Crew said the smoking ban idea actually came from a resident at the last city council meeting, and now the city's attorney is drafting a new ordinance to be put in the hands of city leaders.

"The city council will consider this ordinance sometimes in August," said Crew.

The smoke free push could affect more than 25 parks and playgrounds city-wide, if adopted.

"It is just about promoting cleaner, greener Pascagoula and cutting down on the litter and asking people to take care of each other and be part of this community," said Crew.

The smoking ban park ordinance proposal will be presented to city leaders at the August 18 meeting. If adopted, the ordinance would then go into effect in 30 days. Pascagoula leaders said although they are not legally required to hold a formal public hearing, people are welcome to offer their input to the city.

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