SPRINGVILLE — Leaping past county efforts to enact tobacco bans, this city approved an ordinance prohibiting smoking in public parks.

The Springville City Council unanimously backed the ban on smoking in public parks, recreational areas, cemeteries and near large gatherings. The measure is aimed at reducing nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke, Mayor Gene Mangum said.

"The idea is to try to get those who smoke to smoke in a designated area," he said.

Specifically, the ordinance prohibits smoking in public parks, within 25 feet of bus stops and within 50 feet of large gatherings (except where the area falls on private property). Violation of the ordinance would result in an infraction punishable by a $25 fine or a warning as determined by law enforcement.

This is the first citywide ordinance enacted in Utah County that bans smoking in public parks, said Jen Tischler, a tobacco prevention and health educator for the Utah County Health Department. Springville joins Tooele, Draper, Holladay, Salt Lake City, Murray, Sandy, Logan, West Valley City and South Jordan in outlawing outdoor smoking in some form. Davis, Salt Lake and Weber county have countywide bans.

"I hope that the county follows to protect people," she said. "A lot of other counties are ahead of us."

The Springville ordinance is modeled after restrictions currently enforced in Salt Lake City, Springville city attorney John Penrod said.

The push to pass the Springville measure started when the health department sent representatives to the City Council with the results of a survey of 5,112 people that asked Utah County residents what type of bans they would prefer in county parks regarding tobacco.

The survey found that 96 percent of respondents wanted some change, and 58 percent preferred an outright ban on all tobacco use, Tischler said. The survey sample included 7 percent of respondents who use tobacco.

Tischler also told the council that 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke made an individual's risk of suffering a fatal heart attack higher than that of a smoker. Secondhand smoke also contains 50 chemicals known to cause cancer, including formaldehyde, nickel, acetone, ammonia, lead, cadmium and hydrogen cyanide.

City Councilman Ben Jolley said he supported the ordinance because of the overwhelming evidence that secondhand smoke causes a high number of deaths.

"It just doesn't jive," he said.

Tischler said she is glad the city approved the ordinance, but she would prefer a countywide ban, as Davis County did, rather than doing it city-by-city, as Salt Lake County did.

"It's much better to do an effort together," she said. "It just makes it more streamlined."

Such a countywide ban outlawing smoking in public parks will be discussed later this month.

"Some cities are jumping ahead, though," Tischler said.

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