Smoking in public parks and on Salt Lake County trails is now a big no-no.

But don't worry, golfers. You can still light up a cigar while you wait for your next tee shot.

On Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council approved a smoking ban at the county's 96 parks and dozens of miles of trails.

The county now joins the ranks of more than a dozen counties and several cities with similar bans.

"It's a good principle," said Councilman David Wilde, who sponsored the bill. "We ought to stand by it."

At least nine jurisdictions along the Wasatch Front want police to keep an eye out for smokers in such public-owned areas as parks, playgrounds, amphitheaters, fairgrounds, sports fields, swimming pools, skate parks and cemeteries.

Secondhand smoke poses a "serious health hazard that causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults," according to a 2006 report from the surgeon general. "There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."

The council considered an outright ban in Salt Lake County, but Councilman Marv Hendrickson amended the ordinance to exempt golf courses and parking lots.

That amendment was enough to force three Republicans to vote against the ban, including Councilman Michael Jensen.

Jensen knows the dangers of smoking all too well. His father, a smoker, died of emphysema.

"We need to say look, it's in the public's best interest, we have people we need to protect," Jensen said.

Erin Litvack, the county's community services director, worries that the ban is essentially an unfunded mandate.

Someone will have to pay for signs at the 96 county parks and miles of trails to remind people of the ban, Litvack said. She also urged the council to figure out how to pay for enforcement of the ban.

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