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Friday, May 14, 2021

Bellingham city council says no smoking at city parks and trails

Through next year, smoking will be banned in Bellingham’s parks and trails after a draft ordinance was approved by Bellingham City Council, Monday, Nov. 9.

On June 15, the ban was formally assigned by the council to its parks and recreation committee for further discussion and deliberation.  On Nov. 9, the council talked about how families that go to the city’s parks and trails expect a safe and healthy experience and that is not always the case. Smoking not only affects children but adults, seniors and people with respiratory problems.

Council member Jack Weiss is a supporter of the ban, and said the ban has to do with the health impacts of secondhand smoke.

“Unlike other issues that have been brought forward, smoking can impact somebody else, whether is be health, or litter,” Weiss said.

The council decided to move this ordinance forward, and included an amendment to revisit how the smoking ban is doing on Dec. 31 of next year due to concern about information being outstanding.

Bellingham City Council approved of the smoking ban in the city’s parks and trails due to being concerned about health problems and clean air.  The amendment included reasonable compromises, like designated smoking areas away from restrooms and playgrounds.

Council member Terry Bornemann, was not a supporter of the ban, and felt there were issues with the ordinance.

“Banning smoking from all of the trail systems is too general of a statement and something we cannot enforce,” Bornemann said.

Issac Wolsenholme a junior, who is a smoker, has mixed feelings about the proposed smoking ban in Bellingham.

“I would rather that proposal not go through, but it could be a nuisance for other people to have to breathe in the smoke.  If there is a majority of non-smokers that do not want to have to breathe in the smoke, there is nothing I can do,” Wolsenholme said.

Christine Jang, a Western junior, thinks that the smoking ban is a good thing.

“The ban will help preserve the health of people who do not want to get second hand smoke, especially the youth,” Jang said.

Emily Gibson, who is the medical director at the student Health Center, said she would support a tobacco and nicotine ban.

“Less smoking and vaping/chewing of all substances not just tobacco has good evidence of improved health for the entire community,” Gibson said in an email.

The smoking ban will be in place for a year, and then the city council will revisit the details of the amendment next year.



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