Kent City Council approves smoking ban in parks

Smoking will be banned starting Aug. 15 at Kent city parks.

The City Council unanimously approved the ban on Tuesday night. The council’s Parks and Human Services Committee on May 18 unanimously approved an ordinance restricting smoking and tobacco use.

”There will be no smoking, no vaping and no tobacco products on any of our park properties beginning Aug. 15,” Mayor Suzette Cooke said at the council meeting Tuesday. “You could find yourself with a $50 fine if you are caught using any of those products.”

Cooke said park properties include the Kent Senior Center, Kent Commons, trails and Lake Meridian.

The aim of the ban is to increase health and wellness, said Julie Parascondola, city director of parks, recreation and community services. Park signage and information cards will help spread word of the new ordinance. The signs won’t be permanent.

“In order for an officer to issue a ticket they have to catch the person smoking in the park,” assistant city attorney Tammy White said at the committee meeting. “It is really unlikely to happen. It is really more of a social enforcement.”