Smoking banned in Monrovia public parks

Smoking banned in Monrovia public parks

The City Council has voted to smoking within 25 feet of public recreation areas, such as parks, hiking trails and swimming pools. Passage came despite some initial concerns from members of the City Council about government overreach.

Although many cities in the San Gabriel Valley have passed similar rules, this is the first of its kind in Monrovia. Medical marijuana and electronic smoking devices, known as vapes, are also banned. The new law will take effect on September 1.

Councilman Alexander Blackburn, who voted in favor of the ordinance, raised concerns about civil liberties during the ordinance’s first reading on July 19.

“I’m not against smoking bans that legitimately protect third parties from the harmful effects of smoke,” Blackburn said. “What I’m against is using fear tactics to regulate people’s behavior.”

He also objected to the inclusion of tobacco snuff in the original ban. Snuff is a finely ground tobacco powder meant to be snorted. Staff removed the ordinance’s references to snuff when it determined that there wasn’t enough information on the second-hand effects of such products.

With all references to snuff removed, Blackburn was happy to vote alongside his colleagues in approving the ordinance.

“Government needs to be a regulatory body,” Blackburn said. “But I think there’s a balance to be struck between the public good and civil liberties.”

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