The decision by Seattle parks Superintendent Timothy Gallagher to ban smoking in Seattle parks is a terrible idea. First, the Seattle Police Department already has difficulty enforcing rules in the parks. Second, no one will actually be ticketed because SPD, the city attorney, and judges all will think it a waste of time and resources. And finally, some of our urban parks are adjacent to tourist facilities — think of Freeway Park next to the Convention Center &mdash where people can be expected to go outside to find a place to smoke.
Currently, there are ashtrays and benches set up for visitors to smoke. Presumably, those ashtrays will be removed, and then, since the rule will not be enforced, this will lead to more litter and more expense for parks crews cleaning up afterward.
But there is an even more compelling reason for opposing this rule: cigarettes are a legal product. If it is legal to smoke on the sidewalk or a parking lot or an alley, why not a park? This rule goes too far, won'êt be enforced, and is not necessary to protect public health or safety.