ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Smokers will soon have one less place to light up in Rock Hill.
For the first time ever, Rock Hill City Council voted in favor of banning smoking in public parks. It’s one step away from taking effect, And it’s getting mixed reviews.
“It’s a long time coming; it should have been banned years ago,” mother of two Laura Dietrich said. “It’s a fine line, but it’s a public health issue, so I think they should do it.”
That fine line: whether local government should be allowed to enact the ban-- a reason some council members were against it.
“Some people who didn’t vote for this thought it might be government overreach,” said Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols. “Where do we draw the line between what government can and can not do?”
Still, Mayor Echols and the majority of council members agreed smoking shouldn’t be allowed in parks.
And plenty of residents agree.
“It’s a park for children, you shouldn’t be smoking, there’s a time and place,” said Joanna Paranzino. “You can go out in the parking lot. These are healthy happy little kids. They don’t want to be having all these lung problems.”
The ban would only be a park rule, not an ordinance, meaning smokers would not face a fine or legal action.
“They’ll simply be asked to stop or move on to outside the park somewhere,” Mayor Echols said.
City Council will hold a second reading of the rule on September 26. If it passes that reading, which council members expect it will, this new rule could take effect as early as October.
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