INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis City-County Council voted Monday to adopt a proposal to ban smoking in Indy Parks.
The proposal amends local code to expand non-smoking areas to include public parks owned or leased by the city or county, according to a press release from the council.
It passed with an 18-6 vote.
The proposal was sponsored by Councilors John Barth, District 7, Keith Potts, District 2, Ali Brown, District 5, Dan Boots, District 3 and Jessica McCormick, District 15.
Barth authored the proposal after he said an increase in visitors at the parks during the pandemic is leading to an increase in secondhand smoke and cigarette butts in the city's green spaces.
“Our city’s parks have been an important refuge during the pandemic for residents seeking mental and physical wellness but secondhand smoke and litter are detrimental to the health of our children and families and our environment,” Barth said in the release.
The ban will likely take effect right before the Fourth of July, according to the release. It's enforceable by a $100 ticket issued for the first offense and a court ticket and a fine of $200-$7,500 for subsequent violations. Park rangers will be tasked with issuing the tickets.
Sponsors of the proposal, according to the release, found other cities with similar measures found public awareness efforts and signage are the only enforcement needed. They plan to follow the strategy in Marion County.
“At the end of the day, we’d much rather support someone who wants to quit smoking than fine them for smoking in a park," Barth said in the release. "We’re focused on healthy people and a healthy environment.”