East Ridge officials consider ban on tobacco products - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

East Ridge officials consider ban on tobacco products

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EAST RIDGE, TN. (WRCB) – East Ridge City officials are looking to clear the air on public property, by placing a ban on the use of tobacco products.

"We had a number of complaints from citizens of people smoking around the children and things like that at the park, and that was something we looked at," East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble tells Channel 3.

The result, a measure that would ban the use of all tobacco products, even chew and snuff, on East Ridge property, including city vehicles.

"Now, it doesn't include city streets or city sidewalks," Gobble says. "That was specifically exempted."

The goals, says the city manager, are to promote a healthier lifestyle for employees, to eventually bring down insurance costs and to create an environment all can enjoy in public spaces.

"I feel it's about time they got involved," says Vincent Dave.

Vincent Dave and Marquis Creech are YMCA summer counselors. We caught them supervising an energetic group of kids at Pioneer Park, where they have seen adults smoking in the past.

"I do see that around and I think it's not a very healthy thing to do, because it's sending a bad message to our children," Creech says.

"It's very unhealthy for the kids," Dave says. "They run into a cloud of smoke, for all I know they could have asthma, and that could make them choke and pass out and I don't want that."

Gobble says employees would receive warnings before more severe punishments were handed down.

For the general public, the ordinance provides for $50 citations to city court.

"We don't anticipate a lot of those citations tying up police resources," Gobble says. "Most people, if informed, see it on a sign or if informed that there's no smoking on city property, will gladly put it out."

A second reading for the East Ridge "no tobacco" ordinance comes on the June 28. 

The first reading passed 4-1.

If approved, it would go into effect on October 1.

In the meantime, city employees would be offered voluntary smoking cessation programs to help ease the transition.

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