DeRidder council tables controversial smoking ban proposal

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - The DeRidder City Council voted to table a controversial proposed ordinance that would ban smoking and tobacco use at city parks.

The decision came after a public hearing on the issue was held at Monday night's council meeting.

The ordinance, which was introduced last month by DeRidder City Councilwoman Elizabeth Granger, calls for violators to be fined $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second offense and $100 for the third offense. Repeat violators could also be banned from any city park for up to one year under the proposal.

Proponents of the smoking/tobacco ban cite health and safety concerns for others, especially children, as the reason the proposed ordinance should be adopted.

"Second hand smoke, even in outdoor settings, is harmful," said Granger.

Opponents of the ban said implementing such a measure would violate their rights.

"I agree we don't need to smoke around children, but to say I can't go in a park outdoors and smoke a cigarette, I believe is wrong," said Sara Suire.

"They've taken enough and they just want to keep taking and taking and taking," said David Vickers. "I'm tired of them taking my rights."

Like the public, city council members were also split over the proposal.

The council decided to table the issue until next week when they say hopefully a compromise will be worked out.

"You know, I'm disappointed," said Granger. "But I'm confident that going forward when everyone looks at the facts again, I'm confident that we'll be able to come up with something that will at least protect our children in the areas where they play such as the playground area."

The DeRidder City Council will reconsider the issue Monday, August 15th at 4:00 p.m.

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