January 10, 2006
It’s being called a cutting-edge plan to cut down on smoking. Aiken County’s council will hear a proposal to prohibit the use of any tobacco products at parks. News 12 is on your side on what this proposal would mean for you.
The sign says “All Resident of Aiken County Welcome.” But soon there might be another sign telling smokers to stay away.
“It’s kinda a result of where society’s going now. There’s smoking bans in public places and buildings. There’s already a ban smoking on county owned buildings,” said Parks Director Brian Sanders.
A proposal in front of the council would ban not just smoking, but all tobacco products at the county’s 22 parks. Harrison-Cover Park is one of the larger ones, with tennis courts, a walking track and baseball fields. Cigarette butts litter the ground around every corner. A city worker says he spends time each day picking them up, but it’s still not enough. The plan has few precedents. Sanders says few smoking bans in South Carolina apply to the outdoors.
“Inevitably, children are playing in a grassy area or they take their shoes off they run around and play. We get kids that burn the soles of their feet from people that discard lit cigarettes,” Sanders said.
But others are against the plan. Two walkers, who declined to be interviewed on camera, say parents who smoke would no longer be able to bring their kids to the park and worry the plan might be stepping into foul territory.
Tuesday night will be the first reading for the tobacco ban proposal. The Aiken County Council meeting starts tonight at 7 o’clock at 736 Richland Ave. The ban would not apply to the city of Aiken or any other incorporated cities or towns in Aiken County.