City of Bristol Smoke-Free Parks
To improve the beauty of the city's public outdoor spaces, and ensure an even healthier and cleaner experience for Bristol residents, smoking/vaping is prohibited within City of Bristol parks and recreational spaces effective March 1, 2020.
“Help Us Keep Our Community Parks Clean and Smoke Free”
Park Spaces Covered by the Smoking Ban
• Sports or athletic fields, bleachers and facilities
• Parks, pocket parks, dog parks, and parking lots within the parks
• Pools and spray parks
• Playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts
• Gardens and passive recreation areas
• Trails, bike and walking paths
• Any community, recreation or building located on park or recreation property.
Tobacco Products Prohibited in City Parks
The use of any substance containing tobacco or any tobacco product in all of its forms, including, but not limited to a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or similar device, such as all electronic cigarettes (e-cig, e-hookah, vape pen, electronic nicotine delivery system), as well as chew tobacco, snus and snuff, as well as any product of formulation of matter containing biologically active amounts of nicotine that is manufactured, sold or offered for sale or otherwise distributed with the expectation that the product or matter will be introduced into the human body but does not include any product specifically approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in treating nicotine or tobacco dependence.
The ‘no smoking policy’ will predominantly be enforced by Bristol residents themselves. We expect that park users will ask fellow park users to follow the ordinance and refrain from smoking. This is how similar ordinances have worked in other places across the state and country, including massive metropolitan cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles for example. However, people who violate the new ordinance could receive a $90.00 ticket.
If someone refuses to stop smoking in a public park or recreational area where smoking is prohibited, park guests are encouraged to inform a Parks Department employee or a Police Bike Patrol Officer within the parks if one is available.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
• More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.
• Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
• Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 7 million deaths per year. If the pattern of smoking across the globe doesn’t change, more than 8 million people a year will die from diseases related to tobacco use by 2030.
• Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness attributing to more than 480,000 deaths in the United States every year and 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.
• If smoking continues at the current rate among U.S. youth, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness.
• According to the 2018 National Youth Survey, the use of e-cigarettes among high school youth rose by an astounding 78% from 2017 to 2018 with more than 1 million additional teens beginning the use of e-cigarettes in the past year.
• Studies suggest that sitting 3 feet away from a smoker outdoors can expose you to the same level of secondhand smoke as if you were sitting indoors with a smoker.
Ordinance Change Approval Process
The ordinance change was proposed by Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services in summer 2019 in an effort to further the department’s mission of building a healthier Bristol. The ordinance was approved by the Board of Park Commissioners on October 16, 2019, Youth Commission on December 11, 2019, Ordinance Committee following a public hearing on February 4, 2020, and then by a unanimous vote of the City Council on February 11, 2020. The ordinance change is supported by the Drug Free Communities B.E.S.T.-4- Bristol Coalition, the Bristol-Burlington Health District and the Bristol Police Department.
(NEW) Ordinance effective 3/1/2020
Sec. 16-3. Tobacco Products Prohibited in City Parks and Recreational Properties
It shall be prohibited, at all times, for an individual to smoke and/or use any tobacco product in any form while at a city park or recreational property.
Sec. 16-4. Signage.
City parks or recreational properties, where smoking and/or tobacco use has been banned pursuant to this chapter shall be so designated by signs posted that give notice to those areas of prohibition.
Sec. 16-5. Enforcement.
Members of the City of Bristol’s Police Department shall be charged with the enforcement of this chapter. Such officer of the department shall inform the violator of this chapter and take enforcement action when a violation has occurred.
Sec. 16-6. Penalty.
Law enforcement officers may issue a citation for violation of this chapter pursuant to Section 1-11 of the City of Bristol Code of Ordinances.
Sec. 16-7. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
“ENFORCEMENT.” All law enforcement officers of the City of Bristol.
“PARK OR RECREATIONAL PROPERTY.” Property owned or operated by the City of Bristol and used in connection with recreational programs or purposes, including, but not limited to, sports or athletic fields and facilities, parks, pocket parks, parking lots, pools, playgrounds, bike or walking paths, dog parks, bleachers, gardens, passive recreation areas, tennis courts, trails and other areas where people may assemble for recreational purposes, and any community, recreation or building located on park or recreation property.
For information on the benefits of quitting smoking please consult your physician or visit www.smokefree.gov for more information!