Juneau Bans Smoking In Parks

9/13/17 – The Juneau Common Council last night approved changes to the city’s smoking ordinance that prohibits tobacco in city parks. The changes restrict smoking at any city-owned playground and restroom, within ten feet from the entrance of the Juneau Community Center and at any city park excluding adjoining parking lots. The vote was four in favor and one against. Alderman Clarence “Butch” Chase voted no saying the ordinance change was “dumb.” Chase says he agrees that people should not smoke indoors but he says people that smoke have rights too and this ordinance is “not right.” The vote was cast with representatives from the American Cancer Society and the Dodge County Blue Zones Project in attendance. Blue Zone Community Program Manager Leslie Covell Heshberger says Blue Zones intent is to make the healthy choice the easy choice and by restricting smoking in parks that is exactly what will happen. She says for the 83-percent of people who do not smoke in Dodge County, this is a real win. In voting in favor of the smoking ban, Alderman Jason Buske said that he is a smoker but he does not smoke in front of his kids and he does not expect anyone else to either. Fines for violating the smoking ordinance in the city of Juneau begin at $176. Chief Beal says his officers though will work toward compliance through education and not just by issuing citations because the ultimate goal for the city is to promote city parks as a safe and healthy area for residents and visitors.