UPDATE: City of Bridgeport Considering Smoking Ordinance in City - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

UPDATE: City of Bridgeport Considering Smoking Ordinance in City Parks

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City council has amended a proposed ordinance in Bridgeport, that would ban tobacco use in city parks, to include recreational facilities and parking lots.

Council could vote on this proposal and make it law as early as January 14.

People who break the law could face misdemeanor charges.

Original Story

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world.

A family in Harrison County is actively working to reduce the amount of cigarettes and chewing tobacco waste in parks in Bridgeport.

Shannon Jackson and her two kids approached the Bridgeport City Council several weeks ago to introduce the program.  The program would put up "Tobacco-Free" signs up in all of the parks and encourage enforcement of that ban.

Shannon Jackson said her motivation for this was born while she was spending time with her kids at the park one day.

"I was having to move my children off of the play ground and the parks when someone would light up a cigarette or spit out tobacco," said Shannon Jackson, with the Breathe Easy Alliance of Harrison County.

Her kids are disgusted with it too.

"That I don't want to be on the park anymore," said Audrey Jackson, who helped gather support for the project.

"I don't want a fire, smoking kills!" said Landon Jackson, who is also a part of the push.

Shannon Jackson said there's not one simple reason why tobacco should be banned from public parks. 

"People aren't thinking about toddlers picking it up or second hand smoke," Shannon Jackson said.

She also pointed out the amount of work it takes for maintenance crews to clean up the un trashed butts and the money the city spends funding that work.

"Cigarettes are the number one littered item in the world. Will help beautify our parks. Cut down on litter and reduce our maintenance costs," Shannon Jackson said.

The carcinogens in those tobacco products also concerns her.  She said those chemicals can make their way into waterways and into the ground.

She said parks and sports facilities promote healthy lifestyles, and smoking and chewing tobacco shouldn't be associated with those activities. 

"People are coming to parks for an active more healthy lifestyle. That is going to go with that," Shannon Jackson said.

She also added that many kids smoke their first cigarette in a park, and she believes banning those products could bring down the number of new or future smokers.

"If we show kids tobacco use is not part of the healthy lifestyle. That will hopefully decrease the number of kids that would have these life-long habits," Shannon Jackson said.

It turns out, many smokers are even for the idea.

"Even smokers signed my petition because they knew it was dangerous for kids to breathe in the smoke," Audrey Jackson said.

The City of Bridgeport is currently drafting an ordinance and is expected to talk about the proposal on December 10.

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