Rec Commission proposes tobacco ban in parks

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Recreation Commission is proposing that tobacco products be banned in all county-owned and operated parks.

Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey made a presentation to the Board of Commissioners at a work session Tuesday night, and the matter is expected to be brought to a vote in December.

The Recreation Commission is teaming up with The Newton County Community Partnership, which has been working since 2000 for a tobacco-free community, according to Director Laura Bertram.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit indoor and outdoor use of all types of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, at all times. The ordinance was modeled after that of the city of Duluth and other communities nationwide, said Jenny Carter with the County Attorney's Office.

The Recreation Commission is in charge of 16 facilities that would be impacted, along with four county-owned parks that are not under the Recreation Commission's jurisdiction: Lake Varner, Factory Shoals, Chimney Park, and the Covington Square. The Recreation Commission will also speak with municipal governments about imposing the tobacco ban in municipal parks, Hailey said.

If approved, the effective date would be April 1.

Hailey said a public education campaign will be launched and signs placed in parks between approval and the implementation.

In addition to the Community Partnership, other partners on the tobacco-free campaign are Friends of Newton County Parks; Newton County Drug Free Coalition, Friends of Newton County Miracle League, Little League Baseball Inc., Dixie Boys Baseball Inc. and Newton County Health Department.

Partners will help secure grant money for signage, brochures and education.

Hailey said the goal of having tobacco-free facilities is to reduce health issues related to tobacco use in children.

Tobacco use contributes to the top four leading causes of death in Newton County -- cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke -- Hailey said.

With statistics showing that 27 percent of Newton residents smoke, "if my math is correct, 73 percent of people here that don't smoke have to tolerate second-hand smoke from those that do," he said.

Hailey cited a report by the 2012 Georgia Youth Tobacco Survey Summary indicating that 10 percent of Georgia high school students smoked their first cigarette before age 11; 48 percent of Georgia middle school and 54 percent of high school students who have asthma have been exposed to second-hand smoke; and 11 percent of Georgia middle school students and 23 percent of high school students use tobacco products.

Once the ordinance is effective, violators will be asked to put away tobacco products, said Carter. If they refuse, they will be asked to leave the property. If they still refuse, the Sheriff's Office will be called and they will be charged with trespassing, she said.


Elmo 3 years ago

Seems that hardly a day goes by anymore that some "official(s)" aren't banning something.



Clark 3 years ago

So you're against improving the health of everyone? Well I should have known, afterall with you it's "me me me me me me me" and the community can just die.


Elmo 3 years ago

Waaaa, waaaaa, waaaaaa.

Clarky, is there ANYTHING that doesn't offend you? Do only your opinions matter in this world?

You're a total "wag the dog" liberal. You seem to subscribe to the "needs of the FEW outweighs the needs of the MANY" meme.

First of all, I'm not a smoker. Secondly, my post had no "pro-smoking" message, whatsoever. You added that spin as an excuse to spout off about something.

It's about "big brother" chipping away at individual freedoms. With your type, your ilk wants "freedom of choice" when it comes to things like abortion and legalizing pot, but frown on a person's right to smoke, or buy 16-ounce soft drinks, or buy their own health insurance. Hypocrisy at its finest.

You seem to be a groupthinker, like a fish who just can't survive without the school around him to tell him when to turn, then turning on a dime to follow a just-as-mindless leader.

If everyone in the world quit smoking today, it would not "IMPROVE the health of everyone", it just wouldn't make it any worse, maybe. You're trying to preach Nirvana again using age-old liberal talking points, most of which, have no point.

Insofar as your claim about "me, me, me..."; I confess, it's true. It's true for most everyone, including you. I IS about me, it's about my family, my life, my prosperity, my health, etc...and that has nothing to do with you, whatsoever. In fact, it's none of your business. I haven't asked you for anything.

You have your own version of "me, me, me...", is just, "look at ME everyone, only I care about you and the community, aren't I special?" Same old liberal ego-trip malarky that has been used for decades.

I'll even refer back to your precious "T-SPLOST"; all of your rants have been about how T-SPLOST" would make YOUR commute better, and provide MARTA for YOU to ride to Atlanta...while everyone else PAYS for it.

Now, back to the original intent of governement chipping away at individual rights...someday soon they'll come after something YOU like, and then we'll hear you whining and moaning like you did when T-SPLOST was voted DOWN.

You know, avoiding all of the construction dust from building MARTA might also IMPROVE the health of the community. Oh, I forgot, all you care about a group ride to work on a taxpayer provided high-speed train...or was that a cattle-car?


Clark 3 years ago

You talk about freedom, but let me remind you that it was a Republican Congress that passed the PATRIOT Act and created the TSA and support things like the NDAA (overwhelmingly Republicans voted yes, Democrats voted no). But freedom ends where your freedom interferes with MY freedom. Don't I have the freedom to enjoy parks without having soot and cancer-causing agents blown in my face? Incidentally, I'm against legalizing pot and the 16 ounce soft drink ban in NYC and have no problem if someone wants to smoke inside their own home, just don't expose me to it.

Just how does not inhaling pollutants make someone's health wrose? Is it because smoke is a legitimate pollutant that the body can deal with?

Yep, I'm also about "me me me." But unlike you and your followers, I also recognize that I rely a lot on the community to live. Don't you use the roads? How about public water? Don't you feel safer with a police force and fire department? Now how would you like to bear the cost of those services just for you and yours, alone? Pay a toll only for the roads you use, but pay it every time you use them? Drill and maintain your own well or lake or river intake? Or pay the salaries of full-time security fire personnel? You whine so mightily about having to pay for services, and improvement thereof, but you would whine even more if those services vanished unless you bore the full cost of them alone. Talk about hypocrisy...

You do realize that it wouldn't make just this one single person's commute better right? The fact is that people want transit, that's a fact that you can't deny or hide from no matter how hard you try. The people that want to be able to reach Atlanta, move to places where they can. That's why if you actually took a trip along the existing MARTA lines, you'd see the clean, well-off, low-crime communities right along the right of way and stations. There are areas that still need lots of work, but the blue line East of Atlanta and the Red line north of Atlanta are real good examples of this with the Gold line north of Atlanta not far behind.


Elmo 3 years ago

See Clark, that's where you teeter-totter like a child's broken spinning top. You writings expose your sheep herd group-think mentality in ways you don't seem to fully comprehend...and you've seemingly never faced a point that you didn't entirely miss.

First, you assume that I am a Republican, and you further complicate the matter assuming that I am for the Patroit Act because the Republicans passed it.

Your assumption further fools you into thinking conservatives are mind-numbed zombies, like democrats, and follow any and everything right down the party line.

I actually do not support the Patroit Act, never have. It was hastily passed in a knee jerk reaction from 9-11.

I'm not going to waste time and space with another argument about the skewed elements of T-SPLOST and/or MARTA. We both know how we each feel about the matter...'Nuffield said.

Nor was this about the pros and cons of smoking, or the myth of "secondary smoke".

It's about over zealous "leaders" assuming dictatorial power o er our daily lives. That's it. That was the point you missed...by a mile.


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