Getting caught smoking vaping in most Johnson City, Tennessee, public properties may soon face a $50 fine. On Thursday, city commissioners approved on first reading an ordinance banning the use of vapor and tobacco products in public parks, public playgrounds, public greenways and any public property accessible to youth.
Smoking is already prohibited in parks as a result of city policy, but because it’s not an ordinance, the restrictions are not comprehensively applied and can be difficult to enforce, according to the Johnson City Press.
Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl said tobacco was originally prohibited in the park system because officials were receiving complaints about parents smoking in the bleachers at sporting events, which would disturb other spectators and their children.
A law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly this year gives local governments the authority to prohibit the use of tobacco products on public property by ordinance. Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill on May 27, and the law becomes effective on July 1.
If commissioners approve the changes on three readings, the ordinance would become effective after July 15.
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