Superintendent’s decision: Seattle Parks WILL ban all tobacco use

February 17, 2010 at 3:04 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle parks | 99 Comments

We’ve just confirmed with Seattle Parks that Superintendent Tim Gallagher has decided NOT to go with the Parks Board‘s recommendation regarding tobacco use in parks – and will instead put a full tobacco-use ban into place. It’s part of Gallagher’s final decision on the “Code of Conduct” that the board reviewed over the past month. He issued a memo today including this:

The Board (by a vote of 3-2) recommended limiting the ban on tobacco products (Section 3.2.10) to select areas within parks. The inclusion of a ban on tobacco products is in response to the recommendation from Public Health: Seattle King County (Attachment 1) and Seattle City Council members. It is also a stated goal in the Departments 2008 Strategic Action Plan (2.A.3) which was developed through extensive community input. The majority of the comments received by the Board on the Code of Conduct supported the prohibition as well. The negative health effects of tobacco are well documented. As an agency that has as a fundamental mission to support the health and wellbeing of Seattle residents, it is appropriate and beneficial to prohibit the use of tobacco products at parks and park facilities. I have decided to retain the language proposed by staff prohibiting smoking, chewing or other tobacco use anywhere on Parks and Recreation property.

Here’s the full, final Code of Conduct. Side note: Parks Board chair Jackie Ramels is scheduled to talk about this and other parks issues at tomorrow night’s meeting of the Alki Community Council (of which she’s a former president), 7 pm Thursday, Alki UCC.

99 Comments

  1. How are they going to enforce this policy?

    Comment by celeste17 — 3:08 pm February 17, 2010 #

  2. And, like the “dogs on leash” rule, this one will be 100 percent subscribed to as well. I’m also curious as to how they’re going to consider enforcing this one:
    – Leaving packages, backpacks, luggage, or other personal items
    unattended while the owner is not in the same area of the park or
    inside the facility.
    And, for sheer gaul – perhaps Parks & Recreation employees could obey this one
    -Driving a motor vehicle anywhere in a park except on public
    roadways and parking lots
    My enjoyment of the parks is often disrupted by Parks staff driving gasoline-powered vehicles on park property – hmmm, Catch 22 you say. No, hypocrisy I say.

    Comment by chas redmond — 3:12 pm February 17, 2010 #

  3. The only thing you can do if you run into someone using tobacco products in a park is to call the Parks Dept. and complain. Ooooh I’m so gonna tell on you!!! And then they’d get “excluded” from the park. What? They get a big red “T” to wear on their chest?

    Comment by MargL — 3:21 pm February 17, 2010 #

  4. Rule 25 is a little vague. Lemonade is an acid. A bicycle is capable of causing serious harm to others…

    Comment by KBear — 3:28 pm February 17, 2010 #

  5. Can you get a permit for smoking? I know Native American tribes have rituals involving tobbaco, I imagine they hold some of these in city parks.

    What about the carcinogens released in campfires and cooking fires. Not to mention the result of burning lighter fluid and charcoal birquettes. The city should probably outlaw that too.

    Littering is still an offense, so they should crack down on smokers not disposing of cigarette butts accordingly.

    Comment by GP — 3:54 pm February 17, 2010 #

  6. I can hardly contain myself with the joy I’m feeling. I just feel so safe and protected from all the evils and wicked behavior associated with second hand smoke. Yeah right. What a waste of the public’s time and money.

    Comment by William Brewer — 3:58 pm February 17, 2010 #

  7. Dang! Now I can’t get my tobacco fix while playing in the park. Oh well…I guess I’ll have to get it from the car exhaust in the parking lot instead.

    Comment by JL — 4:01 pm February 17, 2010 #

  8. I’m sorry…but I find this law completely ridiculous. I am not a smoker nor have I ever been a smoker but to tell someone they can’t smoke in an outdoor public park seems insane. It is a public, not a private property and last time I checked, smoking a cigarette is legal as long as you don’t toss it on the ground when you are done. You can smoke at a public bus stop, a public street corner, a public parking lot but not a public park? Crazy.

    Comment by Ruby — 4:01 pm February 17, 2010 #

  9. THis is great news!! The end to Hemp Fest! Or is it you can not smoke tobacco but you can smoke marijuana?

    Comment by boyerbl — 4:09 pm February 17, 2010 #

  10. Can’t make the gun ban stick, I guess they think this is the next best thing? Maybe gun toting vigilantes will keep our parks safe from smokers! –I read too many comicbooks as a child.

    Comment by Dave — 4:13 pm February 17, 2010 #

  11. I don’t think it’s a matter of enforcement. because obviously there aren’t enough personnel to do it, same as the dogs off-leash. It’s a matter of the city department having tools to use if and when necessary. I don’t think anyone would like it if there were adequate personnel to monitor our every move in public places. And it that were the case, our taxes would be much higher.

    I just have to laugh whenever people say: how can they enforce it? Why make any rules, then? Why even bother asking people to put their recycling in the recycling bin (which I can’t remember if parks has those)? Why paint that little line down the middle of paths for walking on one side and wheels on the other side? Because OBVIOUSLY nothing can be enforced all the time. I mean, really….

    Comment by Anon — 4:18 pm February 17, 2010 #

  12. Anon is correct regarding the ridiculous (and untrue) suggestion that laws should only be established when/if they can be enforced immediately and every time an infraction happens. Would people say that because you can’t always catch speeders we should have no laws pertaining to speed? Secondly, I’m not sure I’d place smoking in the same class as the dangers of campfire smoke or lemonade — it’s a nice rhetorical effect to compare them, but it is well documented that tobacco kills hundreds of thousands of Americans a year. Looked at in that light, a comparison to off-leash dogs and lemonade feels a little, well, tacky . . . (just sayin’)

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 4:26 pm February 17, 2010 #

  13. Seems to me that this is just exactly what it states… A “Code of conduct.” Sure, it can’t really be enforced, but it is a guide to what is expected behavior in our parks….. And now it is expected that people NOT smoke while there. I like this, and am supportive of the new policy.. If for no other reason than it will curb folks from thoughtlessly tossing their cigarette butts on the grounbd for everyone else to look at. Take a deep breath everyone…. and enjoy it.

    Comment by Dano — 4:28 pm February 17, 2010 #

  14. The car exhaust comparisons seem a bit spurious to me. Cigarette smoke has a higher concentration of harmful particulate matter than that of even some diesel engines. When you breathe secondhand cigarette smoke in the air from a nearby smoker, you’re also getting unfiltered smoke (without the benefit of a catalytic converter). Internal combustion engines also burn hotter than a smoldering cigarette held in someone’s hand. Hotter is cleaner.
    .
    There is an important difference too in that tobacco contains nitrogen not present in petroleum hydrocarbons. So tobacco and tobacco smoke contain a range of nitrogen-containing chemicals, the burning of which creates nitrogen oxides, known to cause bladder cancer in humans.
    .
    But with all that said, I’d be in favor of reducing vehicle exhaust in our parks (from trucks and small gas powered engines) in favor of quieter and cleaner electrics.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 4:29 pm February 17, 2010 #

  15. What I would like to see is city employees, SPD included, no smoking while on the job, which means while driving their cars/trucks, and no talking on their cell phones. I have noticed more and more lately city, and county employees on their phones while driving, police included. Also, smoking. I am not against it, but if you cannot smoke in the work place, isn’t the car/truck your workplace?

    Comment by coffee — 4:57 pm February 17, 2010 #

  16. I’m not a smoker. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke. I acknowledge second hand smoke is harmful. But, can someone here please tell me of a resource out there which provides info on how harmful second hand smoke in open spaces? It seems pretty insignificant. And the amount you would have to inhale to be harmful (even cumulatively) would seem to be so much more than attained casually outdoors in a park.

    Can’t we just say “not within ‘X’ feet of a crowd or kids” (or whatever)? Ciggy buts are litter and litter is already banned. Can anyone point to a study or anything that makes this law about more than just people not liking the smell of cigarettes?
    I don’t like the smell of your perfume. It is actually offensive to me and
    gives me a headache. But, make it illegal?

    Comment by Zgh2676 — 4:58 pm February 17, 2010 #

  17. I don’t understand why smokers are treated like criminals when they’re partaking in something that is legally sold. Like zgh2676 above, I am a non-smoker who doesn’t like the smoke, and recognize that second-hand smoke can be harmful. But if tobacco is going to be legally sold in this state, smokers deserve some rights too. I understand not allowing it indoors, but now we’re regulating outside too (more than the 25 feet rule that I actually voted against)? Why don’t they just lobby to make tobacco illegal in Washington while they’re at it?

    Comment by Sue — 5:07 pm February 17, 2010 #

  18. Zgh2676: The EPA has classified second-hand cigarette smoke as a Group A carcinogen. And the US Surgeon General has said that NO amount of exposure to cigarette smoke is safe. Why is it so easy to assume that the danger of exposure to it at any level is insignificant? Other Group A carcinogens include benzene and asbestos. If people wanted to walk around spreading little clouds of asbestos around them while they walked in the park would that sound OK? Would people say they had a right to do that?
    .
    Here are links to just a couple of recent studies which suggest that cigarette smoke IS indeed harmful to non-smokers even outside:
    .
    http://bit.ly/cyX6fL
    .
    http://bit.ly/dtFpgF
    .
    And the issue with cigarette butts is worse than just the ugliness of litter. There are thousands of chemical compounds in cigarette smoke, hundreds of them poisonous and at least 50 which are known carcinogens. Those chemicals are retained by the cigarette filters and leach out into the watershed.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 5:15 pm February 17, 2010 #

  19. Tobacco is a drug, like alcohol. You need to be an adult to buy and use it. You can’t drink in a public park, why should you be allowed to use tobacco? Its just common sense. At least with alcohol simple use has no ill effects on others!

    Comment by mark — 5:21 pm February 17, 2010 #

  20. waste of time. I’ll still be smashin though Lincoln Park on my dirtbike with a cigarette between my lips. I dont care. But I still slow down and avoid children and families so I’m not 100% bad right?

    Comment by West Seattles Grimiest — 5:21 pm February 17, 2010 #

  21. Fine by me if they make smoking illegal. It would save us non-smokers a bundle in healthcare costs.

    Comment by Chris — 5:22 pm February 17, 2010 #

  22. If you don’t drop your cigarette butts, then you can smoke. Finish, grind it out and put it in a trash can. But that’s what they call a pipe dream because smokers don’t care about the environment.

    Comment by Westello — 5:28 pm February 17, 2010 #

  23. Seattle’s public golf courses (West Seattle, Jefferson, and Jackson) are maintained by the city, but are operated by Premier Golf LLC. Are they also considered off limits to smoking? A good portion of the workers on the courses smoke on the job, as well as a good percentage of the golfers, nasty cigars included.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 5:31 pm February 17, 2010 #

  24. Man, now I’m going to have to learn to hide my cigarettes as well as my beer. Stop the insanity!

    Comment by magpie — 5:46 pm February 17, 2010 #

  25. Mark says: At least with alcohol simple use has no ill effects on others!

    Actually, this isn’t really true. Alcohol affects all those victims of DUI, and families and friends of alcoholics, to mention just a few. In terms of social and psychological effects, alcohol is way ahead of tobacco. In the Olympics of collateral damage, alcohol gets gold, silver AND bronze.

    Comment by Anon — 5:48 pm February 17, 2010 #

  26. I am sure there is some one who will let us all know how much cigarette smoke damages the trees and grass. And the chemical structure of cig smoke as it relates to free-floating molecules in the wild.

    Comment by Anon — 5:55 pm February 17, 2010 #

  27. Second hand smoke and littering are obvious concerns with smoking; but I think this will cut down on fires too. I personally have seen a few fires near or in parks the last few years and this will undoubtedly reduce the risk.

    Comment by Tyson — 6:05 pm February 17, 2010 #

  28. I’m going to take up smoking just to break this law.

    Comment by paul — 6:21 pm February 17, 2010 #

  29. As long as I see dogs off-leash I will do what i damn well please in the parks. (Other than defecating, of course).

    How about a ban of homeless in the parks after dark drinking as well…get rid of them too and I’ll comply.

    Comment by Michele — 6:26 pm February 17, 2010 #

  30. I am not a smoker, but this is BS!! All you smokers should coordinatte a get together at Lincoln or Discovery Parks and protest, and go in drove by the hundreds and puff it up. How are they going to enforce that?

    Comment by jiggers — 6:35 pm February 17, 2010 #

  31. Yay! Now if they could just ban smoking at bus stops, especially the bus stops downtown, some of which are disgusting.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 6:36 pm February 17, 2010 #

  32. Kayleigh: I’m fairly sure that smoking at (or within 25 feet of) bus stops has been illegal in King County since 2006.

    Comment by christopherboffoli — 6:42 pm February 17, 2010 #

  33. … just imagine if, instead of spending all the staff hours that must be going into this silly code of conduct project, they instead gave these staffers maintenance tools and sent them out to catch up on some of the deferred maintenance that’s out there in the parks.

    Of course, it’s much easier to spend time in a conference room patting yourselves on the back, thinking “aren’t we wonderful because we’re sending a message that smoking is bad…”

    Comment by Mongo — 6:43 pm February 17, 2010 #

  34. I like to smoke, sometimes. I don’t smoke inside my house because it bothers my family. It is nice being able to go to the park nearby, which is otherwise empty, and chill out with a cigarette. I don’t litter. No one is even there most of the time. Can’t smoke at work, can’t smoke at home, can’t smoke outside – what’s left? It’s still okay to smoke in my own yard, though, right? I think it’s probably okay to prohibit smoking in parks because the smoke bothers non-smokers, including children. It is NOT okay to prohibit smoking because you think it’s bad for me – not as long as tobacco is legal. If this is about making common space pleasant for the majority, fine. If it’s about being a control freak, that is bad, sick, and wrong.

    Comment by sarelly — 6:46 pm February 17, 2010 #

  35. I don’t smoke, but I understand that smokers like to relax at a park just like the rest of us. I think that these new park rules are just a waste. I don’t see how they will enforce them. Pull more police to patrol parks? – SPD doesn’t have the budget right now.

    Just curious if all the parks in Seattle will need new signs stating these rules? Watching the news and seeing a proposed tax increase on candy, bottled water, pop, and more, I think there would be more important things to spend money on. – that is if they need new signs.

    Comment by CMeagh — 6:50 pm February 17, 2010 #

  36. CJ, I hope that’s true, but try standing at 3rd and Pike, across from McDonald’s. Sometimes I can’t even take a deep breath, between the diesel fumes and the smokers. Honestly, having them stand close to the curb or down the street a bit doesn’t help when there are 5 or 6 of ‘em at a time.
    .
    Now I’m sure someone will play Captain Obvious and tell me I can live somewhere else or drive or take a different bus or buy a respirator or whatever. But I shouldn’t have to do any of that.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 6:54 pm February 17, 2010 #

  37. First, ban all sports activities in public parks – your errant football pass might land in someone’s picnic and you can’t expect people to be reasonable enough to apologize or accept an apology. Then, ban having fun in public parks because it’s just plain offensive to people suffering from depression. Finally, just ban people from using parks altogether – let’s just leave them as nature intended because humans are the scourge of the planet.

    Comment by x-lax — 6:57 pm February 17, 2010 #

  38. Persecution of smokers! There’s not significant evidence to suggest that secondhand smoke is a class A carcinogen. The EPA’s report is the product of cherrypicking data. See for yourself

    Court Rules Against EPA

    Facts about the EPA’s Report

    Comment by Scott — 6:59 pm February 17, 2010 #

  39. Even Disneyland has a smoking area.

    Comment by Magpie — 7:12 pm February 17, 2010 #

  40. Anon,

    I said simple. ie, having a beer or glass of wine. As in one, a single. I doubt you will blow a .08 unless you weigh 60 pounds

    Comment by mark — 7:24 pm February 17, 2010 #

  41. x-lax LOL! very funny. ON the last statement, I know there are some people who really believe that.

    Michele – I am really glad you won’t be defecating in the park. Please try not to have sex or shoot up in the park either, I would rather not see that.

    Comment by Anon — 7:39 pm February 17, 2010 #

  42. Scott, while I appreciate the link “Facts about the EPA’s Report” wherein some random guy provides his response to the EPA’s methodology, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Bush-era Surgeon General of the United States appear to also be under the belief that “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” (see http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2006pres/20060627.html for the Surgeon General’s report) But then again, perhaps this is just some massive conspiracy conducted by everyone with a Ph.D. or MD, every respectable medical journal in the United States and abroad, and leadership in both the Republican and Democratic parties.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 7:39 pm February 17, 2010 #

  43. why all the uproar. For years I argued that the city should lift their restriction on individuals to responsibly have alcohol on city park property. Not all of us are irresponsible drunks, why punish everyone.
    .
    Instead of cherry picking this rule or that rule, we should just ban all code of conduct if we are worried about living in a nanny state.
    .
    or is it just smokers that are allowed the ‘outrage’.

    Comment by jamminj — 7:41 pm February 17, 2010 #

  44. yay! more laws!

    Comment by smash the state — 8:34 pm February 17, 2010 #

  45. So if the Parks board did not recommend a full-on smoking ban in the city parks, and I’m not seeing a lot of support from the citizenry here for a complete banning of smoking in city parks…..

    Why are the people getting a total ban on smoking in city parks?

    Because government gods said so.

    (I thought government was supposed to represent The People?)

    Comment by transplantella — 8:34 pm February 17, 2010 #

  46. Hurray!

    Comment by J — 8:39 pm February 17, 2010 #

  47. Tim Gallagher

    Has made his decision.
    And I have made mine.

    No more voting yes on parks levy’s until he goes back to California.

    Comment by Ken — 9:13 pm February 17, 2010 #

  48. “(I thought government was supposed to represent The People?)”
    .
    after the passing of I-901 not sure why you get the impression this region is NOT anti smoking.
    .
    also not sure why tobacco smoking gets special privilege compared to many drugs that govt. deems illegal.
    .
    I’m sure many here who have no problem with those who light up a cig at a park, would have a problem with me having a beer, or lighting up a doobie at a city park. You drew your line at one point, some are drawing their lines a little further…
    .

    Comment by jamminj — 9:15 pm February 17, 2010 #

  49. Cjboffoli:
    Did you read my comment fully or your articles at all? I proposed a ban of smoking within x feet of a crowd or kids. Your studys Report problems with people being within 18 inches of a smoker outdoors. Who sits 18 inches from a smoker when try don’t want to?
    Asbestos plumes?! Give me a break. A smoker should be able to smoke a ciggarette in a park with no one around to bother. Simple. I mean, seriously…asbestos plumes???

    Comment by Zgh2676 — 9:21 pm February 17, 2010 #

  50. No, people, it IS stupid to pass laws and rules that will never be enforced.
    The 25-foot rule, for example. What good does that do us? People smoke right outside of doors, throw their butts on the ground (because there are no ashtrays, as it’s not a smoking area), and no one does anything about it.
    The Use Tax is another example. When was the last time you shopped in Oregon and dutifully paid your sales tax when you came back home? It IS the law, you know. Do you pay your sales tax when you shop online, even when the merchant doesn’t collect it?
    And imagine the howls of complaint if Seattle ever decided to enforce its own parking regulations. (Did you know it’s actually illegal to park facing the opposite direction of traffic?)
    Having laws that no one obeys and will never be enforced just leads to a culture of lawlessness.

    Comment by KBear — 9:27 pm February 17, 2010 #

  51. Silly. Indoors I understand, you can’t escape. But outdoors? What if you don’t like the “smell” of BBQ grills going, too much lighter fluid, fish cooking, the stinky sea weeds that wash up around August. I mean come on…get a grip. Outside there is no more ‘risk’ from 2nd hand smoke than from the ferry smoke stacks, car exhaust, Eliot Bay tanker stacks spewing diesel smoke, etc.

    I’m a realist and pragmatist…let’s get a grip folks and not make rules based on magic or guesses.

    Comment by Alki Area — 9:59 pm February 17, 2010 #

  52. Remember when banning beach fires at Alki was was on the table? It’s all about MORE government control. Our incompetent leaders continue to slowly take away our rights because they know what’s best for us. Most of us don’t pay attention or blindly go along with it. Government WANTS you to buy cigarettes, just not smoke them (we need the tax dollars)!

    Comment by gary — 10:31 pm February 17, 2010 #

  53. I’m not a smoker. I don’t like the smell of smoke. But I absolutely believe this conduct rule is for the birds. Smokers have rights and they should be allowed to smoke at a public park. I’d at most support a rule stating ‘no smoking within X feet of picnic tables, restrooms, crowds’ as our parks are large and there is plenty of space for smokers to wander privately with their cigs. This is another example of government exercising too much control where it’s not needed. Now they’ll spend thousands to change up the signs – I’m sure their money could be better spent elsewhere.

    Comment by Lou — 10:46 pm February 17, 2010 #

  54. “It’s all about MORE government control.”
    /
    EXACTLY. It’s about time that the the govt stops telling us whom we can marry, whom can serve this country, getting involved with reproductive rights, who gets or doesn’t miranda rights, etc….
    .
    enough is enough of big government. Light up!

    Comment by jamminj — 10:47 pm February 17, 2010 #

  55. GP: “Wood smoke is 12 times more carcinogenic than equal amounts of tobacco smoke and attacks our body cells up to 40 times longer than tobacco smoke”
    http://burningissues.org/car-www/pdfs/WoodSmBroharris.pdf

    Zgh2676: “The first scientific study on detecting outdoor second hand smoke levels in exposed persons, published by University of Georgia Athens (UGA) researchers in November, 2009, found increased levels of SHS in their subjects, but not levels considered to be risky. UGA has a world class environmental health sciences department that works alongside the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) to study indoor smoke and other contaminants.”
    http://wehonews.com/z/wehonews/archive/page.php?articleID=4332

    Comment by jsidney — 4:36 am February 18, 2010 #

  56. cjboffoli: Your information that nitrogen causes bladder cancer seems a bit spurious to me.
    Composition of Air
    Nitrogen (N2) = 78.084%
    Oxygen (O2) = 20.947%
    Argon (Ar) = 0.934%
    Carbon Dioxide (CO2) = 0.033%
    The remaining 0.002% are traces. Happy Bladder Cancer!

    The statement “There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.”, was made by an inadequate little bureaucrat who was subsequently bounced from his job. The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report made clear that there is no evidence that brief, transient (indoor) exposure to secondhand smoke has any effect on your chance of developing heart disease or lung cancer. The studies cited by the report reported a small risk following intense, long-term exposure, typically among people who had lived with smokers for decades. Don’t read Flannel-Mouthed Carmona’s press release, read the report. It’s at:
    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov.library/secondhandsmoke/report/

    Comment by jsidney — 4:49 am February 18, 2010 #

  57. Not a bad link, just bad typing.
    2006 Surgeon General’s Report
    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/

    Comment by jsidney — 4:54 am February 18, 2010 #

  58. If some of you guys knew how childish and self-centered your arguments are. Smoking is deadly to the smoker and it harms those around them—period. Not magical thinking, but science. Good gawd, this country is perpetually emotionally arrested at the narcissitic age of 14, focused on rights and gratification as opposed to responsibility and consideration of others. Oh, and 1985 called and it wants its “Big Gummit” whine back.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 5:14 am February 18, 2010 #

  59. Outdoor bans are even crazier than indoor bans. The chemical make-up of shs is nearly 94% water vapor and A SLIGHT AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE with about 3% being carbon monoxide AND 3% CONTAINING THOSE SUPPOSED KILLER CARCENOGENS………

    n-nitrosomines which you hear so much about is actually arsenic..what they dont tell you is that the measurements they took match the naturally occuring arsenic in the air outside everywhere.
    they measured levels at 0-29 picograms….which is totally safe…the amount has to be 5 million times that to be harmful to humans……..you see how they switched it. Trying to blame shs for what is actually a natural thing. The levels of other things in shs if they can be measured at all are millions if not billions of times smaller than the amounts needed to harm anyone……just remember this second hand smoke is a joke within nano seconds from the burn it turns into WATER VAPOR…..Even the exhaled smoke is loaded down with water vapor…osha has said nothing in shs/ets is going to harm you or anyone else…..what shs will do is irritate those with weak immune responces…….thats why shs is classified as a class 3 IRRITANT BY OSHA AND THE EPA…..Remember this a prohibition movement must rely on scare tactics and big money in order to succeed to the level of getting legislation….These outdoor regulations are even crazier than the first claims made for indoor bans…….

    As for secondhand smoke in the air, OSHA has stated outright that: “Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997
    -harleyrider1978

    “What, the empirical data says that there is no danger at concentrations below 300parts per million of that substance, and our data shows that there is only 3ppm of that in the air? Well, we’ll just apply this set of spurious rules to the data to show that some how, that 3ppm is the ‘equivalent’ to the 300ppm.” They twisted the science to fit their policy objectives, period.

    This was done over 15 years ago by the Clinton Administration at the urging of scientists whose funding is based on how much their conclusions agree with the policy makers. They even admitted to playing games with the statistics at the time, in order to agree with the policy maker.

    Does this mean that smoking is healthy for you? No, but it is just another little chip away from your own right to self determination. At least Bush/Cheney were up front about trampling your rights in the name of the state, these people just nibble at the .

    Comment by harleyrider1978 — 5:42 am February 18, 2010 #

  60. I cannot even fathom how many toxins I breathe in just spending time on my view deck to the city in mid spring/summer when there has been no rain for a week. :( Wait till the national press picks up on this one. “There goes Seattle again with those cute social people do right laws….” (Don’t get me wrong – I love Seattle.) Myself, I have no problem with dogs off leash ONLY if said doggie boo boos are picked up. I could live with this law if they gave me a law to ban “No white clothes allowed on people after Labor Day.” :)

    Comment by Babs — 6:00 am February 18, 2010 #

  61. The government will never make smoking illegal as long as it such a huge revenue stream. As usual, the government is being hypocritical. We dknow that smoking kills you and we don’t want you to do it in public, but we make too much money on it to outright ban it. Good grief. I’m not a fan of smoking and I don’t smoke, but I see this as hypocrisy at its worst and assinine at best.

    Comment by Magpie — 6:10 am February 18, 2010 #

  62. You can’t go out and enjoy life anymore. Yaaaaaaaaaay. I love the government telling me what I can and can’t do when I leave the house. I might as well look for the highest point on the bridge and end it already. I don’t smoke either. But I’m sure They’ll find something to stop me from having fun.

    Comment by jiggers — 7:58 am February 18, 2010 #

  63. Five minutes of passive smoking harms aortic function. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9499325?dopt=Abstract

    Comment by Kayleigh — 8:05 am February 18, 2010 #

  64. Nice try jsdiney, but actually the report you provided specifically connects secondhand smoke to carcinogens. Here’s what the report you provided says on page 44, chapter 2, in summary of the volumes of data they described: “The evidence indicates that sidestream smoke, the principal component of secondhand smoke, contains carcinogens. Exposure to secondhand smoke results in the uptake by nonsmokers of many of these carcinogens. Although data are sparse on the specific elements in Figure 2.2 linking secondhand smoke exposure and tumor induction in humans via exposure to tobacco smoke carcinogens, substantial data from active smokers support this framework of biologic steps toward cancer. The most plausible mechanisms involved in lung cancer reflect the continuing exposure of the lungs to DNA-damaging material, which leads to multiple genetic changes that culminate in lung cancer. Available evidence points to these same mechanisms as the cause of lung cancer in persons exposed to carcinogens in secondhand smoke.”

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 8:24 am February 18, 2010 #

  65. jiggers: (scarcasm) ya, it kind of sucks that you can’t enjoy doing something that harms me. (/sarcasm)

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 8:29 am February 18, 2010 #

  66. - Why don’t they outlaw grilling meat in the Parks? Consuming meat and smoking cigarettes equally contribute to heart disease, which is the #1 killer in America.
    http://www.goveg.com/heartdisease.asp

    - Why do they use chlorine bleach to clean park equipment, especially since they’re so concerned with the public’s health? Chlorine bleach is a known lung irritant and was even listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act.

    - Cigarette tax collections pay for health care, K-12 education, water quality, drug enforcement and salmon recovery, according to Wa.Gov. I really wish it paid for Parks & Rec, or I’d have a much a better point here.

    If they were really looking out for the public’s health, they’d consider something other than banning tobacco use as a way of improving the public’s health at the park.

    Comment by seaveggirl — 8:30 am February 18, 2010 #

  67. Blame it on the government: the same old tired saw. So easy you don’t have to think.

    Comment by Chris — 8:42 am February 18, 2010 #

  68. seaveggirl: how many tens thousands of people die every year from outdoor grilling and chlorine? you see, the comparison isn’t apt because those things, although potentially dangerous, are not causing tens of thousands of people to die every year. tobacco does. you tell me something else that kills 400,000+ every year that is allowed in a city park, and THEN we can talk about whether that too should be banned.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 8:42 am February 18, 2010 #

  69. bridge to somewhere:
    Mortality rates for heart disease are higher than those of all forms of cancer combined, and more than 700,000 people die from the disease every year.

    At any rate, I was being facetious! Just as I can step out of the huge plume of smoke from grilling meat, someone else can step away from cigarette smoke. I don’t need anyone telling me to do so, I just do it.

    Comment by seaveggirl — 9:02 am February 18, 2010 #

  70. Let me tell a story. I was walking through Discovery Park with my family on a beautiful day. Someone ahead of us on the trail was smoking a cigar. It was impossible to avoid the smoke as we were on the same trail. We really couldn’t speed up and pass becasue we have youg kids. The thing stunk and no doubt negatively affected a trip to the park for lots of people. Why should that one guy have the privelage? It’s a code of conduct; if more smokers had a clue abot how they affect other people (second hand smoke, butt littering) it wouldn’be necessary to remind people about their conduct but a lot of smokers fail in this regard so now you get to suffer the consequences. Move on.

    Comment by Chris — 9:14 am February 18, 2010 #

  71. To the chagrin of pinched-cheek corporate royalist greedy go-getters, American revolution point-missing teabaggers, un-Christlike christian zealots, and various and sundry right wingnuts, Seattle is a pretty damned liberal place. I like that. It makes me happy that I live here. And then my duly elected liberal government pulls some more of this nanny-state bullpucky. Pulls it’s banned Glock and busts a few 9mm caps into each foot. And the spittle spewing man in the tricorn hat with the crazed look shouting “the government is bad! The government can’t do anything right!” almost makes sense for a moment. And much to the joy of Bush Jr’s Have and Have Mores that moment is just long enough so that nothing gets done about the real problems. Our infrastructure continues to crumble. We continue to get buggered by a health care industry getting mind-bogglingly rich denying health care to sick people. Corporations become ever-larger, hold more power over our lives, become less answerable to anyone save their own corporate-fuedal aristocracy. America becomes less american. Damn you smoking ban!

    Comment by Das schnellestes Motorrad der Welt — 9:15 am February 18, 2010 #

  72. I’m not a fan of smoking but nobody ever smoked a cigarette right next me in a park. I also noticed smokers moving away from other people out of consideration. And if someone is truly bothered by the effect on their health by a whiff of smoke, just go tell that person. I just don’t think it’s necessary to regulate behavior like this. It’s government overstepping its bounds. People are capable of ‘regulating’ themselves in this regard. I’m sure that all the vehement supporters of this regulation do lots of things that are bad for my health, and their own health, too, (like driving a car, burning wood or gasoline soaked coals, or their entire carbon heavy lifestyle). It comes across as a bit hypocritical then to tweak out over something as minor as cigarette smoke dissipating into the air many feet away.

    Comment by Kelly — 9:16 am February 18, 2010 #

  73. why do people change their screen names so they can keep singing the same old song? not hard to figure out.

    Comment by Anon — 9:24 am February 18, 2010 #

  74. Why are there so many comments about passive smoking effects? Passive smoking studies are done indoors, in enclosed, non-ventilated spaces.

    Comment by Tom — 9:25 am February 18, 2010 #

  75. Chris, I’ve had that same experience too many times–only it’s not just cigars–cigarettes, too.

    And you’re right–we wouldn’t need these so-called “nanny laws” if people demonstrated that they don’t need nannies. Laws are a clue to the clueless about how to behave. We wouldn’t need them at all–not even laws against murder–if people just behaved well toward each other, anyway.

    Comment by J — 9:31 am February 18, 2010 #

  76. Given that editor of the WSB is a product of Fox News I’m not surprised to see ‘tea party’ type comments from the lead photographer, cjboffoli. At least the cat is out of the bag.

    Comment by Michael — 9:41 am February 18, 2010 #

  77. wow michael, that was a surprisingly personal comment. and kind of off too. firstly, “tea party” types are generally anti-government, and it seems that cjboffoli was actually saying he supported this ban. secondly, i’m not sure how you tie the editor of WSB to fox news, but even so, one might guess fox news would be anti-smoking ban too. can you help me understand how pro-smoking ban can be seen as a “tea party” comment?

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 9:51 am February 18, 2010 #

  78. Hey wait a minute, “tea party” types and Fox news are anti-government? I know its off course here, but Republicans don’t usually mind the government stepping in when say, it comes to the right to choose, the death penalty, right to die, etc. They’re totally fine with the government telling you what you can or can not do in those instances.

    Comment by seaveggirl — 9:55 am February 18, 2010 #

  79. i meant “anti-big government.” sorry for any pain i have caused. :-)

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:02 am February 18, 2010 #

  80. (your point remains though, seaveggirl)

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:03 am February 18, 2010 #

  81. Thanks. Fox “News” pains me regardless, so I’ll have to suffer. Anyway, this correspondence is probably being illegally wire-tapped so I should stop now.

    Comment by seaveggirl — 10:08 am February 18, 2010 #

  82. :-) incidentally, now is probably not the right time to bring this up, but can we ALL agree that loud music from car stereos at our parks is extremely irritating? (and yes, i realize it’s illegal . . . and no, it probably isn’t a significant public health concern)

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 10:16 am February 18, 2010 #

  83. Maybe the smokers should have the ability to opt out of payment of parks levies.
    The parks are supposedly for all, now there is a discriminatory ban on smokers.
    Smokers should have the freedom to exempt themselves from tax payments for the parks.
    Disclosure: I am not a smoker.

    Comment by old timer — 10:25 am February 18, 2010 #

  84. I’m laughing because in a couple of years, people will be saying, “remember how gross and unhealthy it was when people smoked in the parks? Can you imagine?” just like now that we have no smoking in bars and restaurants, and we remember how gross it was and wonder why we let people smoke indoors. I hope some people will at least have the grace to be embarrassed by their whining and carrying on.

    Comment by Kayleigh — 10:28 am February 18, 2010 #

  85. Wow, I thought the parks belonged to the taxpayers and not the “City” ~Kind of like how politicians are supposed to work FOR THE PEOPLE.
    Next stop, banning smoking, drinking, and firearms from your home. The first step of 100% control of the people.
    Meanwhile we have one of the highest rates of crime against property in the Nation and the worst roads on the West Coast. Can we get some realistic leaders in government? I don’t even smoke…..

    Comment by Scott (Embarrassed taxpayer) — 11:23 am February 18, 2010 #

  86. Old timer, last I checked smokers weren’t a protected class.

    Comment by datamuse — 11:34 am February 18, 2010 #

  87. I believe the way it works in America–and let me know if I’m wrong here–is that we elect people to represent us and make decisions. And I further believe that in Seattle, an elected Mayor is the person who nominates a Parks Superindendent, who then needs to be confirmed by the (elected) City Council. So in a very real sense this decision is based on how Seattle votes. We have a representational democracy, one in which we elect people to make decisions that affect us. Scott: I’m sorry if our form of government does not always yield the outcomes some individuals want . . . but that is the government we have. If you want “realistic leaders in government,” you have every right to get out and vote for whoever it is you think will be reasonable, and hope that person makes every decision as you’d make it.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 11:41 am February 18, 2010 #

  88. Here we go…the old “next step – they are going to completely take over our lives” scare tactics. Spare me. Also, the parks dept. manages parks, they don’t build roads or fight crime.

    Comment by Chris — 11:45 am February 18, 2010 #

  89. NOW at our city parks; you can fire your gun but not your cigar!

    Comment by Bettytheyeti — 11:46 am February 18, 2010 #

  90. Aside from the fact that this is just not a fair ruling….keeping in mind that cars and fires and all that fun stuff occur equally…this is a discrimination flat out against smokers. But the REAL frightening issue is that everytime someone in the government says they want to protect one side, then another side looses a right and a freedom. Doesn’t it bother us that the prohibitive laws just keep layering and layering. And if you’ve ever lived in a foreign country…the evidence is there that we really are not the land of the free (comparatively speaking). Sad. Frightening. We don’t need to make judgment calls or choices…we are letting them do it for us.

    Oh…and google “sugar / tobacco” Reports are popping up of studies showing sugar is more harmful than tobacco. Just throwing it out there to stir it all up.

    Comment by Corey — 12:19 pm February 18, 2010 #

  91. “The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.”

    Comment by seaveggirl — 1:37 pm February 18, 2010 #

  92. Oh…just in case anyone wants to send old Tim an email and let him know what you think:

    Tim Gallagher, Parks and Rec Superintendent

    timothy.gallagher@seattle.gov

    Comment by Corey — 2:33 pm February 18, 2010 #

  93. There will always be people who have sex in parks and there will always be smokers. Some are even be the same. :P I just heard about this on the radio today and had to laugh. Why don’t they just say no smoking near buildings and recreational areas like the baseball fields? A park is an open area where people can walk, run or cycle away from what/whom ever is bothering them for the most part. Well, I guess it creates jobs, someone needs to update the signs.

    Comment by Sel — 3:44 pm February 18, 2010 #

  94. The superintendent just changed his mind. See story currently atop the home page … TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:54 pm February 18, 2010 #

  95. I’ve come to the conclusion that Seattle is absolutely full of paranoid people.

    Comment by dimwit — 6:02 pm February 18, 2010 #

  96. I’m going to lincoln park right now to have a smoke. Come and stop me !!

    Comment by Bill B. — 7:28 pm February 18, 2010 #

  97. If I don’t hang to the left or right, I’m considered a teabagger now?….LOL

    Comment by jiggers — 7:22 am February 19, 2010 #

  98. cjboffoli: Your little Stanford study you posted says: “We found that if you’re within two feet downwind of a smoker, you may be exposed to pollutant concentrations that exceed 500 micrograms of PM2.5 over that 10-minute period.”

    WITHIN TWO FEET. This hardly provides support for this STUPID ban.

    Furthermore; NO person has any right to dictate how any other person may act.
    I don’t care who you are, or how benevolent your intentions.
    There is only one rule any person must follow to participate in society:

    Do no harm to any other person physically or financially.

    Beyond that, I will do whatever I want. I reject these rules, and I reject the idea that ANYBODY has the right to dictate what behavior is allowed in public.

    Comment by take-responsibility — 5:50 pm February 19, 2010 #

  99. I remember when you could smoke in hospitals, and delivery rooms. My sister always worked the counter at I-hop with a smoke hanging out of her lips, so did the cook. Does any one else miss the old cigarette vending machines? They were usually in the lobby of most upscale restaurants. All us kids could get a pack of smokes at age 13 from the corner store. Does any one else remember the old drive up window liquor stores? Those were the days huh?

    Comment by been here a long time — 9:05 pm February 19, 2010 #

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