CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Wednesday, the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will discuss an ordinance that could possibly ban smoking in all city parks.
The ordinance was first proposed back in May by Project H.O.P.E., a youth program at the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation. The program is a community coalition that addresses the use and misuse of alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs in the Coastal Bend, including Nueces County.
According to a release sent to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Project H.O.P.E. emphasized how the use of tobacco and vaping products is unsafe for everyone, especially for kids and teens. Parks are the primary location where teens are influenced to give in to peer pressure and try addictive substances. Through research, it has been found that sitting even three feet away from a smoker outdoors can expose you to the same level of secondhand smoke as if you were sitting indoors with that same smoker.
In April, the coalition did a 7 park cleanup and collected more than 500 cigarette butts at each park. That's when Project H.O.P.E. knew they had to do something, especially when targeting the youth of the community.
"Smoking promotes at risk behavior especially concerning our impressionable youth,"Barton Bailey, Youth Program Director at Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation said, "To have a smoking ban in those city parks, it helps to enforce to our own youth the importance of not smoking.”
While the health of our local youth and community is important, Project H.O.P.E. also emphasizes that cigarette waste can be toxic to the environment.
"There would be a significant impact for this ordinance not to be approved, and also, it would continue to tax our city services as it would be more of an effort for them,"
Some may be wondering how the city could regulate something like this if it's passed. Project H.O.P.E. says a possible alternative could be to have designated smoking sections away from community and playground areas.
Blucher Park near S. Tancahua Street is the first and only park impacted by the no-smoking ban. It was approved and passed in September 2019.