Kent Co. Considers Smoking Ban for County Parks - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent Co. Considers Smoking Ban for County Parks

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CAMDEN, Del. (WBOC) - Kent County Parks and Recreation is proposing banning smoking and the use of other tobacco products at the county's parks.

While there is a long list of things currently aren't allowed in parks, like alcohol, littering, open fires, there's nothing to stop people from smoking.

Vikki Staley was out Wednesday with her young daughters enjoying the playground at Brecknock Park in Camden.

"We're at the park climbing, because my kids are non-stop wanting to go to the park and run and play," she said.

Staley says she sees people smoking out in the park from time to time.

"They're not usually within the play area. But you're always a little wary. It's a bad example," she said. "I never want my kids around second-hand smoke. It's just not conducive to their health, and it smells bad."

The ban parks and rec has proposed would affect six locations, including Brecknock, Browns Branch, and Big Oak Parks.

Keith Mumford, who runs the county's parks and rec department, says the bulk of complaints about smoking have come from those three parks, which all have playgrounds.

"We would like to see this become part of the ordinance," he said. "At Parks and Recreation, we promote a healthy lifestyle. Our parks are certainly an extension of that."

The Golden siblings were out enjoying the sunshine and pleasant temperatures at Brecknock Wednesday, too. They'd like to see smoking banned at the park.

"That's second-hand smoke," said Justin Golden, 13. "And for little kids - I've seen two-year olds here - getting second-hand smoke would be bad news for them."

"Other children have illness, but they still want to come. There are other kids, too, who shouldn't be exposed to second-hand smoke," said Justin's sister Giana, 12.

Staley wouldn't mind seeing smoking become a thing of the parks' past.

"I don't see why that would be a bad idea. We already have no smoking in most public places."

What Kent county is considering would not be unique to central Delaware. Other counties on Delmarva where smoking in county parks is prohibited include Kent County, Md., Queen Anne's County and Worcester County, with a few exceptions.

A number of towns and cities on Delmarva also have outdoor smoking bans in place, including Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, the city of Dover, Fenwick Island, Lewes, Milton, the Rehoboth Beach, Ocean City and Smyrna.

One Levy Court commissioner opposed the ban saying it was government over-reach, and the county shouldn't do it.

Commissioners will discuss the issue again at next week's Levy Court meeting.

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