FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2018 Contact:
Parks and Recreation Department
firstname.lastname@example.org Smoking and Tobacco Use Prohibited in Parks and on Trails Beginning April 6
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Fayetteville City Council approved an ordinance on March 6, 2018, that prohibits smoking and the use of tobacco products in all public parks and on the City’s trail system. Taking effect April 6, the ban includes the holding of a lighted pipe, cigars and cigarettes. The use of all smokeless tobacco and nicotine-containing products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and dip as well as the use of electronic, vapor, or heated devices are prohibited. Smoking cessation products approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration will be exempt. Examples of these are nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, inhalers or nasal sprays.
After receiving numerous requests over the years from residents to have smoke-free parks, staff of the Parks and Recreation Department began working with the Northwest Arkansas Tobacco and Drug Free Coalition and the City Attorney’s Office to amend the City code. Currently, there are 26 Arkansas municipalities that have a smoke-free parks law, most notably Bentonville, Rogers, and Little Rock. Fayetteville and these cities have realized the positive physical, environmental, and social impact the ban has on individuals using the parks and trails. The right to clean air, providing a model of healthy behavior, and fire prevention are some of the important reasons for the ordinance. Preventing ground water pollution and litter caused by cigarette butts in the parks as well as children’s safety also serve as benefits. As of July 1, 2016, the National Recreation and Parks Association endorsed municipalities to have tobacco-free park laws.
Residents will begin to notice signs being installed in the parks and along the trail system notifying the public of the change. There will be a $50 fine assessed per occurrence for those violating the ordinance. Parks and Recreation Department staff, along with the Northwest Arkansas Tobacco and Drug Free Coalition, attended the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market to conduct community outreach on March 31 and will be there again on April 7. Members of both organizations will be available with information and to field any questions regarding this change.