Philadelphia Bans Smoking in Public Parks

Effective today, Philadelphians are prohibited from smoking cigarettes in the city's public parks.

Thinking of lighting up a smoke in Rittenhouse Square? You can still do it, but you’ll be breaking the law.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law a bill banning smoking in the city’s parks. Per the mayor’s own words, the ban is “effective immediately.”

Nutter says there are no talks in expanding a smoking ban to public city streets. The new park smoking ban comes for the usual reasons governments pass them: Concerns over secondhand smoke, general environmental worries and as an encouragement for smokers to quit.

“Eliminating smoking in public parks is a commonsense policy that clearly aligns with our City’s existing smoke-free regulations for recreation centers, pools and playgrounds. Specifically, this policy protects the environment and the health and wellness of our citizens,” the mayor said in a release.

The ban will be enforced by staffers in city parks and essentially has no penalty associated with it. Per a city press release, the Parks and Recreation and Public Health departments will also be doing “No butts about it” PSAs.

The New Jersey state assembly in March voted to ban smoking at all parks and beaches, while a partial smoking ban goes into effect in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on May 15.

Earlier this year, a drastic new smoking ban was proposed for Pennsylvania. The state is also encouraging landlords to ban smoking.