Proposed ordinance could ban smoking from city parks

Posted at 8:45 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 06:39:58-04

TULSA -- Smoking may soon be banned at parks across the city. It's a proposed ordinance by the Tulsa Health Department.

The city of Tulsa manages 141 parks. Soon, all of them could see this change, but some in the community are on the fence about it.

3-year-old Kaylee is hoping the squirrel will come down the tree. She waves to it as she talks. The park is her favorite place. But if someone is smoking, her grandmother makes them leave.

"If we were not able to get out of the cigarette smoke, because of my grandson, we would leave," Lawanda Dunn-Pelton said. 

A new ordinance proposed by the health department would make all city parks smoke free and keep Lawanda Dunn-Pelton from having to leave.

"There's between 1,500 and 1,800 communities in this country that have gone smoke free outdoor," Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said. 

The idea is still in the early stages. If passed, the city would be eligible for grant money.

"We could get anywhere from $50,000 to $275,000 to apply towards healthy initiatives in Tulsa," Dr. Dart said. 

"Smoking is bad for you and we all know it," Jyl Johnson said. "I don't think it's news to anyone, but you know the constant shaming is very tiresome."

Johnson is an avid smoker. She says she isn't too keen on the suggested change.

"I wouldn't like sit on the playground and do it, you know I would have a little courtesy," she said. 

"If we can prevent children from starting to smoke, we're going to save 20,000 lives or at least extend those lives in Oklahoma every year," Dr. Dart said.

As the ordinance comes to fruition, kids will play no matter the circumstances.

The health department is hoping to have the ordinance passed and in place by August.