Group Pushes for Tobacco Ban in Tulsa County Parks

A local organization is urging Tulsa County Commissioners to consider a ban on tobacco in Tulsa County Parks.

Tobacco Free Coalition for Tulsa County has been in contact with the city of Broken Arrow, as it weighs the decision to possibly ban tobacco in city parks. The organization said Bixby, Collinsville, Owasso, and Sand Springs already have tobacco-free parks.

"Parks are a place that creates community. It's a place for people to go, families, friends. You can often have events there, parties, things like that," said Paula Warlick with the Tobacco Free Coaliton for Tulsa County.

A County Commissioner spokesperson said the commissioners briefly discussed the matter about six months ago. Some county residents would like to see those talks resume.

"I know it's a right that people would like to have to be able to smoke. It's a right that other people have not to be affected by it," said park visitor George Richins. He and his grandson said they would likely support a ban.

Still, Channel 8 has heard from many people online that believe it is a person's right to choose whether or not to smoke.

"We hear it every now and again from smokers who feel like it's their right, it's their park, they should be able to smoke wherever they want. But we always have to remind them, and city officials easily understand, that it is a park for everyone," Warlick said.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett's office said it cannot hurt to discuss the issue.

Any decision relating to the parks would have to come from the commissioners.