Cleveland may ban smoking in public outdoor places, including parks, pools, cemeteries

CLEVELAND - A proposed ordinance may ban outdoor smoking at all public places connected to the city of Cleveland, including parks, pools and cemeteries – and bring with it a hefty fine for violators.

The ordinance, proposed by Councilman Joe Cimperman, had a first reading Monday night at the Cleveland City Council meeting.

The ordinance calls for all outdoor areas owned by or controlled by the city to be designated as "nonsmoking places," and for "No Smoking" signs to be posted conspicuously in these areas.

According to the ordinance, these new places would be considered nonsmoking:
- City-owned public parks
- City-owned outdoor recreation areas
- City-owned swimming pools
- Picnic shelters within city-owned parks & recreation areas
- Public Square
- Downtown malls open to the public
- City-owned cemeteries
- Defined areas adjacent to city-owned buildings that are used by the public

Smoking within 150 feet of any entrance or exit of city places of employment would also be prohibited under this ordinance.

"People don't smoke inside of City Hall not because somebody is going to write them a ticket but because nobody does," said sponsor Joe Cimperman.

"Many people where their seatbelts now because it's click it or ticket.  So you change the way people behave and a funny thing happens your healthcare costs go down, more people live longer and the city of Cleveland isn't just a medical capital," said Cimperman, "we're the health capital."

Those violating the ordinance would be fined $150 for the first offense and $250 on the second and all other offenses. The proposed law states that each day an offense occurs is a separate offense.

The ordinance requires a two-thirds vote of council in order to pass. It's expected to be discussed at the health and human services committee meeting on April 11. The committee is bringing in health experts from partnering hospitals and the health department to talk about the ordinance at this meeting.

The last major change to the city's smoking regulations occurred in 1987 with the passage of the Clean Indoor Air Act, which provided designated smoking areas in indoor public buildings, workplaces and segregated smokers and nonsmokers in restaurants.

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