Covington approves tobacco ban in parks

COVINGTON — The Covington City Council has approved the banning of tobacco products from being used in city parks. The city has only two parks that do not fall under the Recreation Commission’s jurisdiction: Academy Springs Park and a small park at the corner of Pace Street.

Other parks within the city limits, such as City Pond Park and Turner Lake Park, were already included in the ban of tobacco products for Recreation Commission and county-owned and operated parks and facilities, approved by the Board of Commissioners in December.

Although the related ordinance prohibits the use of tobacco products, Laura Bertram, director of the Newton County Community Partnership, told the City Council at its Jan. 22 meeting that, “We are not banning tobacco. What we are doing is creating tobacco-free spaces for children who are especially vulnerable to tobacco.”

A grant obtained through the Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments will pay the full cost of signs that will be placed in parks to notify the public, Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey said.

All told, more than 20 parks and facilities are affected by the ban, which will go into effect April 1. A public education campaign will precede the effective date.

Hailey said he is also asking the city of Oxford to partner in the ban and may also approach other municipalities.

The ordinance approved by the Board of Commissioners in December prohibits indoor and outdoor use of all types of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, at all times. The Recreation Commission is in charge of 16 facilities that will be affected, along with four county-owned parks that are not under the Recreation Commission’s jurisdiction: Lake Varner, Factory Shoals, Chimney Park and the Square Park in downtown Covington, as well as the two city-owned and operated parks.


kwagigi 2 years, 10 months ago

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You guys are banning smoking outside, essentially. It's not like people who smoke are wandering over to non-smokers in parks and blowing in their faces. My husband and I enjoy going to the local parks, and while he is a smoker and I'm not, it has never once bothered me that he was smoking. Outside. In the open air.

Really, Covington? What's next? Are we going to ban smoking in our front yards? On the porches of restaurants?

Please bear in mind: I loathe smoking. It is terrible for you. However, if you want to smoke, it's not like it's an illegal substance. It's your body, your choice.


dennistay53 2 years, 10 months ago

If only they put up this much effort in stopping real crime. I have no problem with this as there should not be smoking around children. It's just that our local governments have a very poor record on enforcing ordinances like this.. Ride around the county and look at all the littered up roads and we do have a litter ordinance. A law that isn't enforced isn't worth the paper it's written on.


FishyFishy 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't have a problem if those smokers smoke in the parking lot or go over the fence away from the playgrounds (at Denny Dobb's park). But I do have a problem with the folks I see sitting on the wall at the pavilion blowing smoke at the walkers. Not to mention, that same cloud floats over the playground. Pollute your own air, not mine. It's my choice that I don't want to breathe secondhand smoke nor do I want my child to breathe it. I'm a former smoker and even when I smoked I respected others breathing space. There are plenty of smoking areas, parks and recreation areas should not be one, in my opinion.

The littering is out of hand. Smith Store Road coming from Salem Road nearly all the way to the 4 way stop on Oak Hill looks like a dump truck took a dump!


dennistay53 2 years, 9 months ago

Same way here in North Newton with the littering. Awlful.


Newtownqq 2 years, 9 months ago

Its ashame that people litter, but that shows you the class people have these days.It seems to amaze me that you can now carry a handgun anywhere in GA , but GOD forbid you light up in a park. I think a gun posses a greater risk than a smoke. I think we should use our common sense, seems most people in power have forgotten that rule!


insideye 2 years, 9 months ago

Does this ban include the employees of the Newton County Recreation Department? I've seen a lot of their employees using smokless tobacco - which doesn't bother me - but if the parents can't dip or chew - the employees shouldn't be allowed too. And further more - who in the world is going to enforce this rule? Are we going to expect our local law enforcement officers to deal with this?


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