By Associated Press - Saturday, September 13, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The City of Salem is considering banning smoking on some public sidewalks, including the walkways next to Salem Hospital and Willamette University.

Mayor Anna Peterson proposed the ban at the request of officials from the hospital and university.

“I think it’s important to support those businesses who have declared their property smoke-free,” Peterson told the Statesman Journal ( ).

The city council this month asked staff to draw up an ordinance for a vote at a future meeting. In addition to the sidewalks next to the hospital and university, Peterson’s proposal would allow businesses to request smoking bans near their properties.

Councilor Brad Nanke objected to the proposal, saying it would be difficult to enforce. It wouldn’t drive smokers to quit, only to move up the street or to their cars.

“It comes back to kind of a feel-good policy,” Nanke said. “But will it actually do anything? No.”

Peterson acknowledged that she’s uncertain how the proposed restrictions would be enforced. But she said details could be hammered out during council deliberations. A public hearing on the proposal is planned, but it has not been scheduled.

Peterson said she was confident that creating a new city law aimed at restricting tobacco use wasn’t overstepping the city’s authority. “Sometimes we tell people not to do certain things for the betterment of the community,” she said.

The city council considered but rejected a proposal to ban smoking in city parks several years ago. Councilor Dana Dickey said she will soon make another attempt at a smoking ban in city parks.

Salem’s move comes as the state of Oregon is restricting smoking on an increasing amount of public property, including agency buildings, universities and state parks. The state Parks and Recreation Department also is considering a smoking ban on beaches along Oregon’s entire Pacific coastline.


Information from: Statesman Journal,

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