Fruita might ban smoking in city parks and open spaces, not everyone agrees

Published: Aug. 1, 2018 at 3:48 PM MDT
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Taking a puff in Fruita parks just may be illegal sooner rather than later.

Parks are a great place to play, hang out and meet neighbors. Kitty Lucas likes to take her grandson to the parks to play.

But, sometimes there is more than just fun at the parks in Fruita.

"I don't want him to be around it for sure," said Lucas.

Smoke, and not just from the fires, the addictive kind, is completely legal in most Fruita parks. For this City though, that can mean a more unhealthy population, especially for its youth.

"Youth are more likely to start using tobacco before the age of 18," said Katie Smith, Mesa County Public Health.

The City feels having cigarettes less present in parks, could mean more interest from kids.

"We're doing this more as an opportunity to provide healthy environments for our youth,” said Dave Karisny, Fruita City Council Member.

The City is looking at banning smoking in public parks. They discussed the matter at their workshop on Tuesday. They’re still trying to figure out what a ban would look like—whether to focus just on kid-centered parks or the entire park and open-space system. Another question they have yet to answer is what kind of tobacco products could be banned—from chewing tobacco to e-cigarettes.

However, some in the community are pretty sure how they feel about it.

"The fact of the matter is people do smoke," said Janis Dybdahl, a Fruita resident. "To ban it all together, I don't think that that would work out too much…but I think what would be really awesome is if the parks had just special smoking locations."

"I think banning smoking in public parks is a great idea,” said Lucas.

Right now, the City of Fruita bans tobacco use in the bike park, the skate park and in the pool area. The city of Grand Junction has a smoking ban in all the city parks.