UPDATE 10/9/2013 4:30 PM
Parkersburg City Council says "no" to lighting up in the City Park playground.
But, almost predictably, the new rule brings controversy.
Council Tuesday night heard from people on both sides of the issue.
Mayor Bob Newell says the problem in this case isn't secondhand smoke, but the cigarette butts and other trash smokers leave behind.
One council member - a smoker - said it's a matter the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department and not the city should deal with.
Violators face a $500 fine.
In approving the ban, council also rejected a proposal to delay it for a year.
UPDATE 10/09/2013 11:15 AM
Parkersburg City Council approves a resolution that sparks conversation.
The resolution passed Tuesday night amends the rules and regulations for city parks.
It prohibits the use of any tobacco product within fifteen feet of children's playgrounds.
A motion to purchase ash trays and benches and postpone the decision was made, but failed.
Offenders could face up to a $500 fine.
The playgrounds at City Park could soon be off limits for parents wanting to light-up while their kids play.
The proposed ban, on which city council will vote Tuesday, involves not only smoking, but use of all tobacco products.
And here's the reason for the problem:
If you look closely around the play area, you see a lot of cigarette butts and other tobacco leftovers, especially in the mulch near the playground equipment.
And that has parents of young children concerned.
"I do see people smoking on the benches sometimes, when I'm here," says Angela Burns, a parent. "I do think they should smoke away from the children."
Mayor Bob Newell says if the ban gets council approval, signs would be posted in the playground area advising people not to use tobacco products.
Again, this does - not - affect the rest of City Park.
The proposed ban is on the agenda for next Tuesday night's regular meeting of Parkersburg City Council.
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