Please, no smoking in the park | Carter’s Community

At Wednesday's Tunes at Tapps, I noticed some people seemed to be unaware of the city of Bonney Lake’s recently adopted policy prohibiting tobacco use in city parks.

If you did not make it to the first Tunes at Tapps, you missed a great concert by Spike and the Impalers. The weather was perfect. The crowd was mellow. It was fun!  There are many more opportunities for fun, free concerts and events in our parks over the summer.  Check the city website for a list of these great events.

But I noticed some people seemed to be unaware of the city of Bonney Lake’s recently adopted policy prohibiting tobacco use in city parks. The city has determined that tobacco use is detrimental to the health of children and adults engaging in recreational activities and watching outdoor events.  The policy went into effect Jan. 23.

This new policy is part of a larger effort undertaken by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, who report that there is the potential to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke for as many as 25,000 people.

This policy change was spearheaded by Terry Reid, Bonney Lake park board member and supported by the full park board. Mayor (Neil) Johnson approved the policy.

In the state of Washington, a Healthy Youth Survey is taken every two years by students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 in more than 1,000 public schools in the state by more than 200,000 youths.

Fewer Washington state students are drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, but more report smoking marijuana than tobacco, according to a statewide survey of kids reported in the News Tribune March 14, 2013.

It’s likely because students believe marijuana smoke is less dangerous to their health than cigarette smoke, state Secretary of Health Mary Selecky said.

“What we know is smoke is smoke. It impairs the lungs,” Selecky said of the impacts on student health.

Cigarette smoking is down in all grades statewide about 3-4 percent from the 2010 survey.

Still, state health officials expressed concern about students using other tobacco products, such as cigars or chew, adding that nearly as many 10th-graders smoked tobacco from a hookah pipe as from a cigarette.

Washington high school students who participated in a statewide health survey say they are twice as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes. These same students believe using marijuana is risky is also at a low point.

Washington voters legalized marijuana possession for adults over 21 this past November, but its possession remains illegal for youth. Some anticipated tax revenue from sales of marijuana at state licensed stores will be devoted to youth prevention education.

At the May Public Safety Committee meeting, Bonney Lake Prosecutor Maili Barber noted there has been a rise in marijuana minor in possession.  Both the Park Board and the Public Safety Committee suggested that an announcement is made before city events in the park to educate attendees of the tobacco free policy.  That announcement was not made at Tunes at Tapps.  I hope those public announcements are made in the future. Smokers, thank you for your consideration to others.  Please do not smoke in the park. Let’s set a good example for youth and cut down on second hand smoke. One other item from that May Public Safety meeting; the question was asked why the City doesn’t charge for Tunes at Tapps in order to subsidize the events.  Events Coordinator David Wells said that Marymoor Park charges for parking, not the event.  This information was also shared at a recent park board meeting, where the board has also discussed the possibility of charging for events in our parks and parking, in addition to boat launch fees.

What do you think? Do you want to pay to attend events like Tunes at Tapps? Bonney Lake Days? Kids Club?  Friday Night Flix? Would you attend, or park in a neighborhood to avoid the parking fee? Would charging a fee prevent lower income attendance? Your taxes pay to maintain the parks we have, should you have to pay again to attend an event there?  Should parks be inclusive, or only reserved to those who can afford to pay?  I want to be clear here.  I am not talking about Homeowners Association (HOA) parks. Some residence in those communities are under the impression they are being double taxed because they pay an HOA fee exclusively for their neighborhood or pocket park and pay taxes that go to city parks.  I am not talking about those private parks that residents of HOA communities chose to pay for in addition to their taxes for city parks. I am talking about public parks.

When Mayor Johnson approved the no tobacco policy, he stated “Improving the quality of life starts with a tobacco free environment.  Hopefully this policy will allow all families to enjoy the park.” Note: the emphasis to me is on “all families to enjoy the park.”


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