JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Smokers in Jeffersonville can no longer light up in parks due to a new ban.
Monday, the Jeffersonville Parks Authority voted unanimously to ban all forms of smoking, including electronic cigarettes and other inhaled vapor devices, according to WAVE 3 News news-gathering partner the News and Tribune.
The president of the Jeffersonville Parks Authority, Bill Burns, said talks to enact the rule began almost a year ago.
"We started discussing updating the rules, including those involving smoking and the use of inhaled vapor devices," Burns told the newspaper. "I think our citizens ought to have a choice on whether they want to smoke or have to inhale smoke. This gives them that choice. They shouldn't have to inhale smoke from somebody sitting next to them."
By banning smoking the issue of littering is also alleviated, Burns added.
All parks are included in the ban, including areas like RiverStage, the Big Four Bridge, and Little League baseball and softball parks.
The ban is effective immediately, but Burns said it will take time before proper signage is added at the parks. The authority will use park websites, social media and word of mouth to spread information about the ban.
"On a future date, that will happen," Burns said. "We have to find the funding, then we'll start getting those put up."
So far no penalties have been attached to the rules, but Burns said if it becomes an issue that could change.
Some residents are pleased about the ban, but other are raising concerns, including Jeff Mouttet, owner of Match Cigar Bar.
"There is no scientific basis for banning smoking outdoors," Mouttet told the News and Tribune. "I'm not trying to say smoking is good for you. The minute that smoke comes out of somebody's mouth, it's unmeasurable. It can't harm anybody. This is just a social engineering experiment to try to stop people from smoking."
Mouttet explained that he would like to have seen a rule that allowed more leeway for smokers, but acknowledged that would be tough to do with it being such a hot-button issue. Mouttet agreed that smoking could not be condoned in every situation but said taking away a person's ability to smoke outside is going too far.
"I don't think you should have to allow smoking in restaurants, and I don't think you need to smoke around kids," Mouttet told the News and Tribune. "I don't agree with all that stuff. But to say there's no place where people who choose to smoke can go, that's outside the bounds of what society should mandate."