In Wake of Record Drought, Houston Bans Park Smoking

Andrew Nagy
Posted: September 19, 2011

Houston mayor Annise Parker has banned public smoking in the city's 380 parks.

Last Friday, Parker signed an executive order to temporarily ban park smoking in an attempt to prevent any further forest fires from occurring in Houston, which is enduring its driest year on record. According to the Houston Chronicle, the city has recorded 45 days of 100+ degree heat, which is 40 percent more than any previous year. And just last week, two fires started in George Bush Park, with one scorching around 1,500 acres of land.

The executive order makes it illegal to smoke a cigar, cigarette or pipe within the boundaries of any city park. Violators who are caught will be fined anywhere from $200 to $2,000. While the ban seems to be temporary, it is interesting to note that no timeline was specified in the order.

In April, Harris County, of which Houston is the county seat, banned smoking in more than 75,000 acres of public parks in April. Parker said she wanted to match the city's regulations with the county's so visitors would not be confused.

Ed Harvey Auburn, WA, United States, September 20, 2011 4:47am ET
What a way to scoot around a vote or any due process. Hey lets do an Executive order, and no one will challenge that. WOW! another wonderful way to take your rights, without so much as a peep!!
Chris Castellani Tomball, TX, USA, September 21, 2011 11:25pm ET
Although I am a cigar smoker, along with living and working in the City of Houston. I am glad she did this for now. Living only 5 miles from where a cigarette ignited a 15,000 acre wildfire, and nearly destorying my home, all smokers need to be a little more considerate when disposing of their light.

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