The Park Board approved a plan to ban tobacco use on all District property at the Monday, August 28, 2017 Park Board Meeting. Sugar Creek Golf Course and paid rentals at Wilder Mansion are exempt from the ban.
The approved ban comes after discussion at the March 13, 2017 Park Board Meeting, where Board Members directed staff to draft an amendment to the District’s Park and Facility Use Ordinance and to create an implementation and enforcement plan for a potential ban.
Reasons cited for the ordinance include increasing public support of tobacco use bans, the negative health and environmental impacts of tobacco use and the National Recreation and Park Association and Illinois Association of Park Districts’ positions on banning tobacco use at public parks and facilities.
Exemptions were made for Sugar Creek Golf Course and paid rentals at Wilder Mansion due to the unique enforcement challenges at these facilities. Both are operated to make a profit, which the District reinvests in the Park District, and staff were concerned about the loss of rentals and revenue a ban might create. Staff also expressed concern about the time needed to enforce the ban and the expected increase in guest complaints. The ban would also likely increase litter outside, particularly at Wilder Mansion, since there would no longer be litter containers for tobacco products.
While smoking has declined in the United States, from 20.9% of adults in 2005 to about 15.1% of adults in 2015, cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The ordinance will go into effect on November 16, 2017 to overlap with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, an event which encourages smokers to quit smoking.