'100 Percent Smoke-Free' Parks New Law in Madison

Smoking ban promotes health, clean environment, proponents say.

Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP). Credit: RosenetTV
Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP). Credit: RosenetTV

Smoking no longer is allowed at Madison parks and recreation areas, and new signs will notify visitors of the ban.

Proponents of the law, approved Nov. 13 by the Borough Council, say it reduces litter from cigarette butts, sets a healthy example for children who play on the fields, and reduces exposure to second-hand smoke.

The law also bans electronic cigarette smoking, smoking within 30 feet of borough buildings, and areas adjacent to parks, including sidewalks and parking lots.

Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy program manager Alan Kantz, a Drew University graduate, said he is excited Madison residents will experience smoke-free parks. Many other towns have implemented smoking bans and, after the new law is in place, "they are shocked that they lived any other way," he said.

Madison received free signs provided by the state Department of Health to install at parks.
Art By Lisabelle November 23, 2013 at 08:59 PM
To the Council Members who wish to punish smokers with bans, fines and more people using 99% safer alternatives known as Electronic Cigarettes. There is objectionable doubt as to the validity of this course against your citizens. There is ample evidence that outdoor smoke is in no way a health hazard to any living thing and this measure is mainly a shaming of adults that smoke. As far as the youth of your community is concerned, try enforcing the laws that are in place to and hold teens accountable for their willful disobedience of the age restriction laws. The Deadly Outdoor Smoke Study (Hall et al, Assessment of exposure to secondhand smoke … J Occup Environ Hyg. 2009 Nov;6(11):698-704.) Just in time for SmokeFree Campuses’ 2009 push to ban college smoking, U. of Georgia researchers released shocking findings: people walking by outdoor smokers might be exposed to nicotine levels 162% greater than control subjects! Actually, the researchers compared exposures in a Friday night outdoor bar smoking pit to an empty open field. Sans those details, the frightening news served as an encouragement to new college campus bans. But, as with all the rest, the reality is a bit different than headlines.  162% of virtually zero is STILL virtually zero. The researchers make no scientific claims of any actual harm from the levels they measure – for the simple reason that there’s no research anywhere that would support such claims even if the concentrations were 1,000% greater. We’re talking fractions of nanograms here.  Taking the smokiest exposure, the one stressed to the media and students, an analysis shows that even on busy Friday nights a person would have to hang out in smoke pits for almost 25,000 hours to equal the exposure that an average smoker gets in a single day.  Even if we assume that the smoke density in an average outdoor smoking area equals that outside of a Friday night bar, and we then forced a nonsmoker to stand in such an area for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, they would have to stand there for TWELVE YEARS to equal what an average smoker gets in a day. The true intent of outdoor bans is made clear when one considers the insanity of worrying about passing moments of tobacco smoke amid the exhaust fumes in a company or campus parking lot, or when one asks why there should be a total prohibition of a few comfortable indoor and separately ventilated accommodations for smokers and their friends to relax together safely. The motivation is NOT about health: Extreme bans are about social engineering and are based on presentations that are close to outright fraud.
David Arthur November 24, 2013 at 07:52 AM
It would seem to me that we have a greater problem with cars, trucks and buses that idle for long periods of time. While there are laws on the books...few express any outrage at the health hazards all of us are exposed to. But, somehow, our elected officials feel compelled to put a smoking ban in place. Certainly hope everyone feels better now. How about enforcing the laws we already have? That would be a good start.
Anthony M November 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Looks like I will proudly be the first one to be fined\arrested due to this ban. The street that I take my daily walk on not only has 3 parks but the only sidewalk is on the park side of the street. I will not cross the street and be forced to walk in the road which is dangerous in itself just because I am walking within 30 feet of an empty park while smoking my cigar on my walk. While crushing my freedoms might make the nannystate politicans in town feel their doing good things, this veteran just feels less free. So let them do to me what they will but I will not give up my rights in this town.
Jeffrey Webb November 25, 2013 at 08:17 AM
"they are shocked that they lived any other way," shocked? Give me a break. I'm glad to see that this bothers other people too. The Borough council has nothing more pressing? The police have nothing better to do than watch the parks for smokers? Sounds to me like someone showed up at our council meeting with a solution in search of a problem.
Kevin Blair November 25, 2013 at 06:01 PM
As someone who is a smoker/trying to quit person, I have always tried to keep my bad habit away from others, especially children. Part of me hates to say this, but in our current society, we have other needs to address also. I would like to propose that we also eliminate the sale of cola, Gatorade, pizza, hot dogs, etc because those foods have been demonstrated to contribute to the obesity epidemic. If our local government has no bigger fish to fry and feels the need to step more and more into our lives, let's let them all the way in to make sure they can take care of us all the way!!
Kevin Blair November 25, 2013 at 06:26 PM
PS, I'd also like to propose a ban for the sale of alcohol and lottery tickets, too. Those activities are super bad. Once all of these issues have been taken care of, I'd finally like to propose a ban of regular television, I saw much violence during the Jets' and Giants' games yesterday. Let's also throw Cablevision into the mix because the Walking Dead was so violent last night but I couldn't possibly turn it off unless the Government passed a resolution.
Kevin Blair November 25, 2013 at 06:28 PM
These previous comments were partly tongue-in-cheek.
Steve C November 26, 2013 at 08:40 AM
I am so happy they decided to ban the use of the e-cigs. The mere site of someone doing something that looks like smoking must be eliminated too. This entire thing is silly. Alan Kantz, if you don't like smoking, I have an idea, don't smoke.
Steve C November 26, 2013 at 08:41 AM
The best part of this new regulation is the new signage. Because one thing we all need is more signs telling us what was cannot do.


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