EUGENE, Ore. — Cigarettes could be stomped out for good at all Lane County parks and public buildings. County leaders think it’s time to kick the habit on all county-managed properties.
Lane County Health and Human Services says smoking in Lane County is an epidemic that it’s determined to curb. Among the reasons for a no-smoking push; 17 percent of adults and 15 percent of 11th graders in Lane County are smokers.
Die hard smokers will smoke; but it’s possible that within a year, Lane County tobacco users could be confined to even tighter spaces.
“It is part of what our society and our county have deemed as an acceptable behavior, a choice that you make for yourself and we respect that. What we want to do is make sure we’re taking a stand and taking a lead,” said Jason Davis, Lane County Health and Human Services’ spokesman
A new push for a tobacco free policy at county managed facilities could put out hundreds of cigarettes, at nearly 100 local parks and buildings, in Lane County.
“Education only goes so far and then we have to step up with policy, making it more expensive for people to smoke and harder,” Davis said.
Lane County park attendees agree a non-smoking policy would help.
“If you limit the amount of places people can smoke at people will smoke less”, said Savannah Studstrupp.
“I have family who smoke, and I believe everything we can do to reach them about what it does to other people and themselves, would be very helpful,” said Bobbye Sorrels.
Residents and health officials say, on top of fire hazards and littering, encouraging county residents to put out their cigarettes for their health and others, is the number one concern.
“People go to the park because they want to enjoy clean air,” Studstrupp said.
“I believe it would be a very good move for health, aesthetics, pleasure, joy,” Sorrels said.
Lane County residents question how the policy would be managed and if people would be out enforcing the policy at all times.
A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Lane County Juvenile Justice Center to address concerns of enforcement and likely many other concerns.
“What we’ll do after the meeting is take feedback and let it shape our process and let it shape the policy,” said Davis.
Lane county health workers want to encourage people who have strong opinions about this to bring them.