City bans smoking in parks

Frisco city councilmen had mixed reactions Aug. 5 to a proposed ordinance that would ban smoking in parks, but the ordinance ultimately passed with a 3-2 vote.







Councilmen Scott Johnson, Jeff Cheney and Bob Allen voted in favor of the ordinance. Will Sowell and Tim Nelson voted against it.







The council discussed two versions of the ordinance—one that would ban smoking in public parks and the other that would ban possessing any form of tobacco products in parks.







The ban will be added to the city's smoking ordinance, which prohibits smoking—including e-cigarettes—in certain public areas.







Nelson said he didn't support the proposition because it included a ban on e-cigarettes.







"I haven't seen any real tests, any real documentation, that shows [e-cigarettes'] second-hand effects from 5, 10 feet away," he said.







Councilman Scott Johnson said he was floored that the council, before Tuesday, had not restricted smoking in parks. Johnson said he grew up with parents who smoked and couldn't always get away from the second-hand smoke.







"We are not currently protecting the health, safety and welfare of our citizens, let alone the children, of our community," he said.







The council asked city staff to bring back the issue at an upcoming council meeting to discuss the possibility of banning of non-burning tobacco as well.







Councilman Will Sowell said he didn't support the version of the ordinance that restricted the possession of tobacco products.







"I think it's ludicrous to say to a resident that they can't possess something that's legal while they're in a city park," he said. "I can't have a pack of cigarettes in my pocket while I'm in a city park?"







The next city council meeting takes place Aug. 19.