Seattle parks become smoke-free on July 6

As of Monday, July 6, 2015, all Seattle parks will be smoke-free. Smoke-free parks further Seattle Parks and Recreation’s mission to provide healthful and welcoming places for all residents to enjoy.

The Seattle Board of Park Commissioners unanimously recommended to approve a parks-wide smoking ban in May. The new rule will expand the existing smoking ban from within 25 feet of another park visitor to no smoking on any publically accessible park land. This is similar to rules in more than 1,000 other cities and jurisdictions nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Portland and San Francisco.

Enforcement of the new rule would primarily be a matter of education and will be entrusted to Park Rangers and the Seattle police officers. The enforcement protocol for the new rule was developed in 2012. This protocol does not include excluding people from a park because they are smoking.

Park Rangers will approach smokers and provide them with information on where they can smoke and a resource card with information about the policy and resources for help in quitting tobacco (if they wish to quit). The next level of enforcement would be a verbal warning, followed by a written warning. Seattle Parks expects a large percentage of smokers to voluntarily comply with the verbal requests or verbal warnings.

To report a non-emergency nuisance activity, the public should call the Seattle Police non-emergency line at 206-625-5011.

Park visitors who have been given a written trespass warning for smoking in a park can set up a meeting to dispute the claim by emailing Right2dispute@seattle.gov or by calling 206-684-4075.

Smoking is allowed on public rights-of-way, including sidewalks. For more information about the smoking ban, please visit the Seattle Parks and Recreation website at http://www.seattle.gov/parks/smokingban/.

 

Volunteers remove 5,000+ cigarette butts from Alki Beach

Seal Sitters and volunteers collected more than 5,000 cigarette butts from Alki Beach on June 13. Photo by Eilene Hutchinson

A cigarette butt is tossed on the beach. It’s not biodegradable. It can take up to 15 years to decompose. During that time it leaches cadmium, arsenic and other poisons into the earth. It may be ingested by a toddler, bird or fish. At Seattle Parks and Recreation, we’re trying to prevent that situation, and we’re thankful for our community partners joining in the effort.

On Saturday, June 13, Seal Sitters led an Alki Beach cleanup with more than 80 volunteers. Seal Sitters is an all-volunteer group dedicated to the protection of marine animals and their urban habitats in Puget Sound. After a brief educational program led by PAWS Wildlife and NOAA Fisheries, the volunteers scanned the beach picking up litter and debris.

In less than two hours, the volunteers picked up more than 5,000 cigarette butts along with other trash. Passersby gave the group kudos as they walked by and some people signed up on the spot to pitch in.

Seal Sitters partner with Seattle Parks to provide volunteer trainings, beach cleanup events and educational activities in parks.

As of July 6, 2015, all Seattle parks will be smoke-free. Through this effort, Seattle Parks hopes to reduce litter, promote healthy lifestyles for youth, and create a welcoming environment for all visitors to City parks and beaches.

For more information on Seattle’s smoke-free parks, visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/smokingban/.