HANFORD — Smoking and vaping will no longer be allowed at Hanford city parks.
At the Hanford City Council special meeting Monday night, members unanimously approved (4-0 with Councilman Martin Devine absent) regulations that address smoking and vaping in outdoor spaces and other places.
Council requested an ordinance to ban smoking and vaping in city parks after student members of the Regional Advocate Countering Tobacco (ReACT) program, under the direction of the California Health Collaborative, gave a presentation to council about keeping city parks tobacco- and vape-free spaces.
Upon examination of the city’s current smoking ordinance, Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever said he discovered that the ordinance was outdated and no longer in compliance with even state and federal regulations.
City staff asked that council repeal the current ordinance and replace it with a new one that addresses smoking and vaping in city facilities, places of employment, outdoor spaces, and also smoking/vaping cannabis.
According to a staff report, the intent of the ordinance is to protect the public visiting those locations from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, ensure a cleaner environment and reduce litter, among other benefits.
Several members of ReACT attended the council meeting and spoke about the thousands of pieces of cigarette-related litter they have collected over the past four years at local parks and their dream of having smoke-free parks and public spaces so people with breathing conditions like asthma don’t have to worry about having attacks from secondhand smoke.
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The students said they hope this ordinance causes a ripple effect in other Kings County cities.
Council members commended the students for their efforts in bringing the issue to the council and city’s attention and for being diligent.
“I want to give credit where credit is due,” Brieno told the students.
Applause erupted from the group of ReACT members when the approval vote came through.
According to the regulations, anyone who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited will receive a $50 fine for the first violation, a $100 fine for a second violation within one year of the first violation and a $150 fine for a third violation, and for each additional violation, within one year of first violation.
The ordinance will take effect 30 days after its second reading. Sever said his department will work with the Parks and Recreation department to post signs about the new regulation.