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Rec Commission proposes tobacco ban in parks

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Recreation Commission is proposing that tobacco products be banned in all county-owned and operated parks.

Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey made a presentation to the Board of Commissioners at a work session Tuesday night, and the matter is expected to be brought to a vote in December.

The Recreation Commission is teaming up with The Newton County Community Partnership, which has been working since 2000 for a tobacco-free community, according to Director Laura Bertram.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit indoor and outdoor use of all types of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, at all times. The ordinance was modeled after that of the city of Duluth and other communities nationwide, said Jenny Carter with the County Attorney's Office.

The Recreation Commission is in charge of 16 facilities that would be impacted, along with four county-owned parks that are not under the Recreation Commission's jurisdiction: Lake Varner, Factory Shoals, Chimney Park, and the Covington Square. The Recreation Commission will also speak with municipal governments about imposing the tobacco ban in municipal parks, Hailey said.

If approved, the effective date would be April 1.

Hailey said a public education campaign will be launched and signs placed in parks between approval and the implementation.

In addition to the Community Partnership, other partners on the tobacco-free campaign are Friends of Newton County Parks; Newton County Drug Free Coalition, Friends of Newton County Miracle League, Little League Baseball Inc., Dixie Boys Baseball Inc. and Newton County Health Department.

Partners will help secure grant money for signage, brochures and education.

Hailey said the goal of having tobacco-free facilities is to reduce health issues related to tobacco use in children.

Tobacco use contributes to the top four leading causes of death in Newton County -- cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke -- Hailey said.

With statistics showing that 27 percent of Newton residents smoke, "if my math is correct, 73 percent of people here that don't smoke have to tolerate second-hand smoke from those that do," he said.

Hailey cited a report by the 2012 Georgia Youth Tobacco Survey Summary indicating that 10 percent of Georgia high school students smoked their first cigarette before age 11; 48 percent of Georgia middle school and 54 percent of high school students who have asthma have been exposed to second-hand smoke; and 11 percent of Georgia middle school students and 23 percent of high school students use tobacco products.

Once the ordinance is effective, violators will be asked to put away tobacco products, said Carter. If they refuse, they will be asked to leave the property. If they still refuse, the Sheriff's Office will be called and they will be charged with trespassing, she said.

Comments

henrystamm 1 year, 9 months ago

To all the Maddcrappers. When the majority of the people smoked doctors advertised that smoking will control obesity. Than that garbage connection wanted a reason to make news and told the population of a risk of cancer. The dummied down populous (mainly by the dems) told us we will not get cancer if we stopped smoking and imposed a obscene tax on it. My father smoked 3 pack a day and never had cancer, according to those geniuses I should be dead by now of inhaling second hand smoke but to the surprise I am in the middle 70th and am still coaching and playing soccer. Explain that you dummies. Prohibition is never the answer; education is if you have responsible people running it, not like the corrupt union and administrators now.

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inthemiddle 1 year, 9 months ago

If you want to smoke, then fine ... go smoke! Just don't smoke in a public place where people with allergies, asthma, etc may not want to breathe in your second hand smoke. When I was a kid, my mom told me that "the right to freely swing your fists ends where someone's face starts". Similarly, your right to smoke outdoors ends where my right to breathe clean air starts. Don't let your rights infringe on mine. I don't care if you smoke if I don't have to breathe in your smoke, and you should be polite enough to not smoke around people who don't want to breathe in your smoke. Kudo's to the Rec Department.

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John 1 year, 9 months ago

With that said, we ALL should be driving 100% electric vehicles or ride bicycles and give up our right to drive - 'cause your & all other drivers exhaust does cause breathing issues as well. So let's be polite to ALL.. Plus, I would bet there is a much greater percentage of the people drive cars (even some old Smokeys) than those that smoke - in our house 100% drive- no one smokes in our house.

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inthemiddle 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes because necessities like vehicle transportation really compare to the choice of smoking cigarettes. Nice analogy. That really drove it home.

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henrystamm 1 year, 8 months ago

Why do they have all the illnesses their parents probably where on drugs, alcohol abuse or other stupid habits? Before wood stock we did not have this many illnesses than we have now. Fix your living hazards and than everything will be OK, prohibition is not the answer it did not work in the past and never will.

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will 1 year, 9 months ago

Great, how will little Bobby be an allstar baseball player if he cant dip. Everyone knows dipping makes you run faster, swing faster, and catch a line-drive better. I almost forgot little Bobby has to have a pair of Oakleys to make him better as well.

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John 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, it looks like the "Hollywood of The South"" is getting to look more like "The Hollywood of The LEFT Coast" or lets "Lib it up". Wonder how Newton County will handle the legalization of smoking "Medical/Recreational Cannabis"? The drum beats can be heard after Colorado & Washington gave it a two thumbs up in November. Plus, it will save the taxpayers money by eliminating the overcrowding at the NC detention center.

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gladtohaveajob 1 year, 9 months ago

Please. The "smoking areas" do not work. The idiots who smoke just do it near those areas and they still pollute the entire Turner Lake area. Come on Newton County, get this right!

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

@gladtohavajob What "valid" information do you have that supports you "unique" claim. Please include in your reply, how many smokers does it take to pollute the entire Turner Lake area? and how many come near Turner Lake? the harmful level of smoke in ppm and how many smokers gathering at one time would it take to exceed that level.
Last time I checked (when I burned my burn pile) smokes rises, the wind blows it away. Plus, Georgia & Turner Lake have an abundance of trees, trees absorb air born pollutants during daylight & emit oxygen at night - recall that from Biology in High School. As I stated previously we do not smoke in our house.

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KimberlyD 1 year, 9 months ago

If you don't want to be around smoke than don't go in a public place where it'll be there. A few moments of walking by someone that is smoking is not going to kill you... I'm a smoker, if I see someone walking by that isn't smoking, I don't blow my smoke on them, I move to where it won't bother them. If you are that sick to where you can't be around it than stay home. The world is a tough place not meant for pansies.

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will 1 year, 8 months ago

KimberlyD, you sound like a smoker-IGNORANT. Have your lips started to wrinkle?

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FishyFishy 1 year, 8 months ago

YES!!!!!!!!! The smokers at Denny Dobb's Park repeatedly ignore the rule and sit on the wall by the playgrounds polluting the air of the children playing and the walkers and runners exercising. I would take my child there more if a ban was in place.

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will 1 year, 8 months ago

FishyFishy, you must have forgotten rules do not apply to them they are the entitled.

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