Tega Cay bans smoking in city parks

joverman@fortmilltimes.comJuly 11, 2013 

— Tega Cay mom Kara Griffin hopes Tega Cay parks and beaches will be cleaner thanks to a new city ordinance that prohibits smoking in city recreation areas.

Griffin, along with members of the Tega Cay Moms Club, helps clean up Windjammer beach during the summer months. Last summer, they noticed they were constantly picking up cigarette butts.

“Our children were playing in this. The moms were disgusted,” Griffin said. “We were getting tired of it, so we wrote a letter to the city council.”

The ordinance passed in June. It restricts smoking to parking lots of all public parks, playgrounds and beaches in Tega Cay. Anyone caught smoking can be asked to leave or fined $25.

The ordinance does not cover the city’s tennis courts or golf course.

It took Griffin nearly nine months to work with city officials on the ordinance. Part of the delay came from a change in city management, when the city had to search for a new administrator. Another delay came when Griffin worked on an early ordinance that included a prohibition on chewing tobacco. That ordinance did not pass. Several council members were concerned about how to police the use of chewing tobacco.

“You see a lot of places going smoke-free but not tobacco-free. I’m trying to do what is right,” Griffin said. “I want to get rid of the butts, but I hope it won’t make people chew more.”

Still, Griffin said the ordinance is an overall win for the community. It prevents accidental fires, damage to the environment and protects others from second-hand smoke.

“I just had this fear that we weren’t going to make this change for our children and for nonsmokers,” Griffin said.

“I think City Council did an excellent job in helping craft an ordinance that took into account both sides of the issue,” City Manager Charlie Funderburk said. “We have many wonderful park facilities that everyone wants to enjoy.”

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