Proposal Would Ban Smoking in Meck County Parks & Greenways
CHARLOTTE, NC - "Smoking is such a bad habit. Causes all kinds of diseases," says West Charlotte resident Tony Craig.
A former smoker, Craig says he supports a proposed ban on smoking in county parks.
"I think it's a good thing if we inhale nothing but clean air," he explains.
Park and Rec leaders are pushing for the ban which would affect all county parks and greenways.
"Parks are symbols of health and fitness, and this is following that same trend," says Michael Kirschman, Deputy Director for the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.
Kirschman says park smoking-bans are becoming more popular.
"We come here to our public park to get fresh air, to exercise, to fellowship with our family and friends," says North Charlotte resident Kamaria Lawrence.
Lawrence says smoking isn't fair to others.
"I'm passing these children on the playground. It's no fair that they should have to inhale someone's smoke," she explains.
But not everyone's on board.
"I feel like people ought to be allowed to do what they want to do. And if it's outside it doesn't really bother me," says Myers Park resident Phil Hinson.
Some people say there is room for compromise.
"There should be smoking designated areas within the park, they shouldn't completely ban it all in, but I think they should still have a place for it to be done," says Myers Park resident Veronica Bejarano.
But the current plan only proposes an all-out ban.
And no penalties - except being asked to leave the park.
This summer the county will survey 500 people to gauge interest in a park smoking ban.
County Commissioners could vote on a proposal later this year.