Should Lane County ban tobacco in county parks?

Should Lane County ban tobacco in county parks?

EUGENE, Ore. - On Sept. 1, both the University of Oregon and the Oregon State University campuses became tobacco free. 

Now the Lane County Department of Health and Human Services is playing with the possibility of making parks and campgrounds tobacco free.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Lane County has a higher rate of tobacco use than the State of Oregon as a whole. 

By banning tobacco from parks and campgrounds they hope to encourage more people to kick the habbit, as well as cut some clean up costs.

Around 15 people attended the town hall meeting and only one, Curtis Everett, admitted to being a smoker.  He said it is a bad habit and said he is for making facilities like schools tobacco free.  However, he said banning it from parks and campgrounds is going just a little too far.

"I think when you are outdoors like that, you know, its going to get to where you can't walk down the street and have a cigarette," says Everett.

While Everett is opposed to a ban, he said meetings like the one put on by the Lane County Department of Health and Human Services are valuable for smokers and non-smokers alike.

"We're losing rights every day," Everett said. "I mean laws on top of laws, and if people don't get up off their butts and come down here to town hall meetings like this they are going to lose their rights to everything."

There is no policy currently in the works.  The Lane County Department of Health and Human Services held Wednesday's town hall meeting as a way to get the conversation about the topic started.  They hope to reach out to as many people in the community as possible to hear as much feedback as they can.  Additional meetings are being planned for this topic, but specific dates have not yet been set.