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Santa Maria residents pushing for smoke-free parks - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Santa Maria residents pushing for smoke-free parks

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Some residents in the city of Santa Maria are working to ban smoking in local parks and open spaces.

Some park-goers in Santa Maria say they are worried for their children’s safety when it comes to playing around cigarette butts.

“My kids come here all the time. I am a smoker, but it is probably a good idea that they do ban it from the parks because of all of the cigarette butts that are already in the park,” said Maria Buenrostro, Santa Maria Resident .

The state of California recently redefined "smoke-free" to include a ban on tobacco products, as well as electronic, vaporized tobacco and marijuana. The same language would be included in a Santa Maria city ordinance if passed in September.

“Secondhand smoke has an impact on the health of us and I know firsthand the impact of cigarette usage,” said Sister Janet Corcoran.

Sister Janet has been working for nearly a decade in Santa Maria to ban smoking in parks and beaches.

“When I was a kid my dad smoked Lucky Strike, and I mean he smoked. What did it do to him? He got asthma and emphysema and being on a respirator months at a time because his lungs were failing. The last year of his life he had a tracheotomy and had to be suctioned all of the time. He died at 66. What did it do to me? I‘ve got asthma and bronchitis now,” said Sister Janet.

There are more than 350 communities in the state of California that have already regulated smoking in outdoor recreation areas.

“You don’t want people exposed to secondhand smoke, or vapor emissions, it’s the role modeling of this kind of behavior for our young people. Parks are places where people go to recreate and play and get outdoors. Breathing clean air is part of that,” said Dawn Dunn, Santa Barbara County Public Health-Tobacco Prevention Program.

Some community members KSBY talked to said they wanted a designated area where they could smoke in parks. That way, they said they can still keep an eye out on where their kids are playing.

The County of San Luis Obispo passed local laws banning smoking in open, public spaces in 2010. Violators face a $120 fine.

Santa Maria is not the only city without local smoking laws. Solvang and the City of Santa Barbara also do not have local ordinances. They are only regulated by state and federal tobacco laws.

The Santa Maria City Council will consider the ordinance at its meeting on September 6 at 6:30 p.m. 

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