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West Monroe city leaders ban smoking in parks

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - City leaders are waiting a while before the harsh penalties begin coming down. The parks department is scheduled to begin drafting up some signs warning people about smoking in the city parks. Parents are giving the new rule, a thumbs up.

"It's okay if they want to smoke but it's affecting people around us," Sabrina Cole said.

The mother of two is all in favor of a new West Monroe city ordinance.

"Don't do the second hand smoke with me and my family," Cole said.

Cole is raising a six and five year old. She said the puffs in the park are dangerous toward her family's health, especially since one her kids have asthma.

"People can now breathe clean air and don't have to breathe other people's second hand smoke," Anti-Tobacco Advocate Jennifer Haneline said.

Four city leaders agreed and one abstained to banning smoking in public parks during Tuesday's city council meeting. Now that the measure, introduced by Alderman Staci Albritton, is in effect, the next step is passing on the knowledge to residents.

"We'll start our signage and getting everyone knowledgeable that we're all smoke free now," the alderman said. 

The council had another stricter measure to choose from. That one called to ban all forms of tobacco in public parks. And some feel that proposal,if law, gives local leaders too much power.

"An opponent I guess was the big government, more government regulation," Albritton said.

The alderman said this new rule is just a matter of public health and not a big brother type of ruling. According to the parks department, the new rule has been on the minds of many for a while now.

"I think it'll be a positive thing for the community, something people have asked for, for a long time," Director Doug Seegers said.

Alderman Staci Albritton said tobacco users in the park aren't in the clear just yet. City leaders may revisit the option of banning all tobacco products if they see that it's still a problem.

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