A policy to ban tobacco use in Sioux Falls city parks comes as good news for many parents and grandparents.
"The parks should be a healthy place for kids and healthy people. Public events, things like that, lots of people here," Richard Smith said. "Shouldn't be subjected to something we're not involved in."
Dale Jim and Richard Smith enjoy the parks when they can. Dale says she can't stand the smell of smoke and, when it's around, so is a constant reminder of a loss.
"I had a friend, mother of two children, never smoked a day in her life. She died of lung cancer. For me, it's not fair. I speak on behalf of my children, my grand children and them after that," Dale Jim said.
For mom Dawn Christensen and her 2 year-old son Gavin, smoke is something they do their best to avoid.
"It's not fair to kids. I know it's outside and everything it's just not good around them at all," Dawn Christensen said.
Cigarette buts are the #1 most littered item in the world. They take, at least, 10 years to break down. Many adults fear kids pick them up - especially in a park - sometimes ingesting or even swallowing them which is something they want to stop.
"There's not a lot of conscious effort to put cigarettes in specific containers, it's not healthy. Birds eat it, it goes on and on," Richard Smith said.
"It's not good for the environment or the parks. I just would be all for it," Christensen said.
While adults have the choice, they say, kids don't. So, setting a good example at the park would be a good move.
"If they wanted to have a public space, place for them to smoke with ash trays, I'm fine with it. Just keep it away from us," Smith said.
According to city leaders, making their parks a happier, healthier place to play is a step to a healthier tomorrow.
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