Fort Worth city council aims to expand smoking ban
The Fort Worth City Council is expected to expand the city's smoking ban to include city parks at its regular Tuesday night meeting.
In December, thecouncil approved a ban on smoking in bars and bingo parlors. That ban went into effect March 12. In addition, retail smoke shops are prohibited within 300 feet of schools, universities and hospitals. The new law also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes.
Organizations pushing for a smoke-free city pursued the change because they argued the city had not kept pace with public sentiment and data that show the ill effects of secondhand smoke. In past years, the council has declined to expand the ordinance.
In February, some council members told the city's attorneys they also wanted to include city parks and public sidewalks in the ordinance. Public sidewalks were not included in this latest addition because it is not a pressing public health concern, city staff said. Only a few U.S. cities ban smoking on public sidewalks.
The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 Texas St.
If approved, the new ordinance will go into effect in 90 days. Fort Worth is the only large Texas city that allows smoking in its parks, city staff said.
Under the new ordinance, smoking will be allowed in the outdoor areas of the city-owned golf courses and the Will Rogers Memorial Center. It also gives the Park and Recreation Department director discretion to permit smoking in designated areas of parks during special events, such as Concerts in the Garden.