A smoking and tobacco ban in Mecklenburg County parks goes into effect today, just about six months since its passage. The move affects some 200 parks within the county, including many in the city of Charlotte, whose leaders were among those not behind the passage of the ban due to a requirement that their staff enforce a ban they did not support.
“This is a very big deal,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Mecklenburg County health director, via a press release. “This kind of action shows that we’re serious, as a community, about reducing the impact of chronic disease.”
The county will be replacing temporary “coming soon” signs with permanent ones on government-owned property and at Mecklenburg County Parks, giving visitors and residents a reminder that the areas are now smoke-free, and park property is tobacco-free.
“Parks are outdoor health centers, and making them tobacco-free improves the health of all visitors,” added Jim Garges, County Park and Recreation director.
Violators can be fined $25 if they do not adhere to the ban and any warnings from enforcement officials.
Smoking and tobacco use will still be allowed at county-owned golf courses as well as 18 regional parks.
Mecklenburg County is home to over 1 million residents.