Parks and library campuses in Houston, Texas will soon be smoke free, as the city looks to make them cleaner, healthier and safer.

The change goes into effect on September 2, and will include golf courses and the entirety of parks and libraries, eliminating any smoking areas or buffer zones where people could still light up. The new rule includes all tobacco products, regardless of form, and has already been put into effect at the city’s downtown libraries.

“This decision is based on a desire to protect the health of our residents,” said Mayor Annise Parker via a press release. “Millions of Houstonians, many of them children, utilize our City parks and libraries. They deserve to be able to play and learn without being exposed to harmful secondhand smoke. Likewise, City employees at these facilities also deserve healthy work environments.”

While the hope is that signage and verbal reminders will deter anyone from using tobacco products, there is also the possibility that an individual could receive a municipal citation and be fined as much as $2,000.

The ban will be enforced by parks and library staff members, as well as Houston police.

Houston is the largest city in the state and fourth most populous in the country, with an estimated population of 2.2 million people.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.