Commissioner Fritz, Portland Parks & Recreation propose amendment to smoke and tobacco-free policy

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(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s ban on smoking and tobacco use will expand to include the entire PP&R system on July 1, 2015.  All City parks, natural areas, community centers, trails, golf courses, recreation areas, and all other sites where PP&R park rules apply will be smoke and tobacco-free. 

The bureau continues to feel that education on this expanded policy is the best way to promote public health and protect Portland’s parks and natural areas.  PP&R currently prohibits tobacco use at Director Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and the portion of the South Park Blocks that is located on Portland State University’s campus. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of any play structure, picnic table or designated children’s play area.

“Expanding the smoking and tobacco-free policy throughout the entire PP&R system makes the rule consistent,” says PP&R Director Mike Abbaté.  “And Portland will join more than 500 cities and towns nationwide which already have laws mandating smoke-free parks.  It furthers our mission of Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland.”

On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, prior to the expanded policy going into effect, Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz is taking an amendment to City Council clarifying how the policy will be enforced: only by Portland Parks & Recreation staff who have the authority to enforce park rules (such as Portland Park Rangers), and not law enforcement or other personnel.  Those smoking or using tobacco could be asked to leave the park where the violation takes place, for the rest of the day.

“The intent of the smoke and tobacco-free parks policy is to promote public health and protect Portland’s parks and natural areas, not to criminalize those who smoke or use tobacco,” says Commissioner Fritz.  “We expect people to comply with the expanded policy because it’s the right thing to do for our parks and for themselves, not solely because they’re faced with major penalties.”

The primary method of enforcement will be education, emphasized Fritz.  Voluntary compliance is key in the expanded policy, which is designed to promote public health and to protect Portland’s parks and natural areas from litter and fire danger, among other concerns.

Prohibited smoking and tobacco products include, but are not limited to: bidis, cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars, clove cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine vaporizers, nicotine liquids, hookahs, kreteks, pipes, chew, snuff, smokeless tobacco, and marijuana.  The expanded policy will also apply to events held at PP&R properties, with a provision for golf tournaments to allow smoking under permitted and certain conditions.

Click here for frequently asked questions about PP&R’s expanded smoking and tobacco ban.