Butt Out: Boston Enacts Smoking Ban At Public Parks

The ban makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or any other material on properties controlled by the Parks and Recreation Department.

By | Boston Daily |

Boston’s Parks and Recreation Commission is giving people who were planning on quitting smoking in 2014 a little extra push.

On Monday, the city agency voted unanimously to adopt a proposed smoking ban in all of Boston’s 251 public parks, including Boston Common and the Public Garden.

The ban makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or any other material on properties controlled by the Parks and Recreation Department. Breaking the new law, which goes into effect immediately, is punishable by a $250 fine, and will be enforced by park rangers and officers from the Police Department.

The ordinance includes “vaporized substances,” according to city officials.

The new law was first put on the table by Mayor Tom Menino, and later voted on by the City Council in November.

“This amendment is necessary to maintain the health and safety of our public parks and ensure that these valuable resources can be enjoyed by all Boston residents,” Menino said in a statement, supporting the smoking ban.

According to the Parks and Recreation Commission, there will be a public awareness campaign put into place to help make residents and visitors aware of the policy change, and to help slowly drive the message home so people stop lighting up in outdoor spots.

“Prior to enforcement, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Boston Police Department, and Boston Public Health Commission will work collaboratively to educate the public about the new rule,” Parks Department officials said in a statement.

In November, Dot Joyce, spokesperson for Menino’s office, told Boston the new law has been in the works in some form since medical marijuana was legalized. “[The city] has been studying the issue since the marijuana law passed. It makes sense to protect and help all individuals using our public parks, and to be able to allow them to have the ability to breathe fresh air without concern for either marijuana smoke or cigarette smoke,” she said.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2013/12/31/boston-passes-smoking-ban-in-public-parks/