July 3, 2018-
Smokers who visit Westerville’s public parks soon will be required to extinguish their cigarettes and put away their vape pens. The Westerville City Council agreed to ban smoking in the suburb’s public parks Monday night, joining Columbus and a growing number of surrounding cities. In recent years, more than a dozen central Ohio communities have eliminated smoking in parks or at playgrounds, including parks in Dublin, Grove City, Hilliard and Reynoldsburg in Franklin County.
Supporters say such laws reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, especially in areas where children gather and during large public events. They also aim to reduce litter and fire hazards.“I think most people these days will agree smoking is not healthy for anybody,” said Miller Sullivan, Franklin County Public Health medical director. “Parks are one of those places people go to be healthy.” The health agency will help Westerville install signs in the coming weeks. Westerville’s new ordinance, approved by a 6-1 vote, takes effect 30 days from Monday. Parks and Recreation Director Randy Auler said his staff, not police, will mostly enforce the rule.