A proposed ordinance would ban smoking in all city of Las Vegas parks, following in the footsteps of more than 900 municipalities across the country, according to the Respiratory Health Association.
The new bill put forth by Ward 1 City Councilman Brian Knudsen would expand existing restrictions on smoking in parks, making it illegal to smoke virtually anywhere in city parks. It would also add e-cigarettes to the restrictions.
The goal of the ordinance is to improve quality of life in parks for residents, especially children, Knudsen said. He decided to propose the measure after some residents expressed concerns that a recently approved marijuana dispensary could lead to an increase in smoking in parks.
“I didn’t realize the city allowed for smoking in parks, so I saw that as an opportunity to meet the needs of that neighborhood,” Knudsen said.
Smoking marijuana is illegal in virtually any public place in Nevada, including parks, but the ordinance reiterates the state ban on that activity as well.
Current city law prohibits smoking in parks within 50 feet of bleachers, children’s play areas, sidelines and perimeter fences of sports fields, said Dorian Stonebarger, special assistant in Ward 1. Under Knudsen’s proposed ordinance, the only circumstances under which smoking in parks would still be allowed is during Native American cultural ceremonies, she said.
As a member of the Southern Nevada Health District’s Board of Health, Knudsen hopes the ordinance will encourage healthy behavior.
“My job is to protect quality of life as best as I can, and this is one avenue of making sure Las Vegas is on the path toward creating a healthier environment for people who live, work and play here,” he said.
The health district assisted North Las Vegas in crafting a similar smoking ban in public parks that passed the