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They are how we protect our special coastal places

05 • 28 • 2015

Smoke Free Parks in Seattle

On May 28th 2015, the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners approved a citywide ordinance calling for all parks to be smoke free. A prior ruling back in 2010 set in place a prohibition of the use of tobacco products on city beaches, and within 25 feet of other park users. The current ordinance calls for parks to be completely free from tobacco use, not dependent on the presence of other park patrons. The ruling is set to go into effect on July 6th.

With this decision, Seattle joined the ranks of other major cities such as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston who have similar restrictions in their park systems. The reasoning behind the new regulation is two-fold: to prevent negative health issues from park goers subject to second-hand smoke, and to stifle the presence of litter from cigarette butts. In place of fines, violators will be educated on the new rule for their first infraction. Additional infractions would incur a warning, followed by a short-term ban from the parks. Learn more about the change here.

The Surfrider Foundation is pleased with this ruling due to our commitment to protecting the world’s oceans and beaches. Cigarette butts are the #1 item we collect in any of our beach cleanups. This ruling will help to limit the amount of litter in Seattle parks and beaches from errantly discarded cigarette butts. For this very reason, the Surfrider Foundation has created the Hold On To Your Butt campaign, aimed at improving proper disposal of litter from cigarettes. We at the Surfrider Foundation Seattle Chapter would like to thank each and every one of you who supported this ordinance by signing the petitions that kept this campaign moving forward.