Pascagoula Says "No" To Tobacco On City Property

Jack & Jill Daycare workers love bringing their kids to the park. What they don't love is the smoke.

"It's a children-oriented place, they shouldn't be smoking there," daycare worker and mother Katie Nicholson said.

Beginning July 19th, Pascagoula says it's time to put out those cigarettes, at every public park, playground, and sporting event in town.

"Sometimes smoking offends a lot of people. It should be banned in a lot of places altogether," Pascagoula resident Mary Clark said.

But try telling that to Freddie Allen.

"It's a free country. That's what its supposed to be," Allen said.

In about five minutes, I picked up more than 300 cigarettes at one bench at I.G. Levy Park. Parents worry it's more than just the smoke, it's the trash some smokers leave behind.

"The toddlers, they put everything in their mouth, when they walk around a playground where they're supposed to be playing, they're picking up cigarette butts, putting them in their mouth," Nicholson said.

Smokers say public parks mean public air, and a new law won't stop them from lighting up, no matter what the consequence.

"A $50 fine? I'll smoke out here everyday. And they will have to keep me in jail, everyday," Allen said.

That attitude is what Mary Clark is afraid of. She doubts the law will ever be enforced.

"I'll believe it when I see it. They say a lot of things and never do any of it. We'll watch and see," Clark said.

And without any specific fine or penalty, parents wonder if city leaders are simply blowing smoke at a serious problem.

As a reminder, the law applies to all types of tobacco. We spoke with Councilman Joe Abston, who suggested the ordinance. He believes the law will help people set a better example for kids by not smoking, and will also cut down on litter in Pascagoula.