Chicago has banned smoking in public parks and watersides as the number of places that permit public smoking continues to dwindle.
The Chicago Park District board on Wednesday evening passed new rules that apply the city's smoking ban to public parks and harbors. The ban, effective immediately, expands existing rules against smoking at restaurants, bars, beaches, and within 15 feet of park field houses and playgrounds.
Rules passed in January by the City Council included e-cigarette devices in the indoor smoking ban. Traditional cigarettes, pipes, cigars and newly legal medical marijuana are also included in the latest ban.
The ban may have huge implications for some of nation's biggest outdoor music festivals that call Chicago home, including Lollapalooza, The Pitchfork Music Festival and Riot Fest, which kicks off this week. Those festivals and several others take place on Chicago Park District property. Representatives from all three declined to discuss the ban, RedEye reported.
Violation of the new ban can earn smokers fines up to $500. City officials said that the ban won’t be strictly enforced until signs are posted and an awareness campaign is out, the Sun-Times reports.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has supported a smoking ban as part of his "Healthy Chicago" initiative. Anti-smoking advocates noted that beyond the negative health consequences, litter from cigarettes and other smoking paraphernalia was significant in tipping public opinion.
Ninety percent of people responding to a four-week survey by the American Lung Association said "they do find litter from tobacco products to be a major problem in Chicago parks," DNAinfo Chicago reports.