LaFollette city leaders hope to ban smoking at parks


LAFOLLETTE (WATE) – Leaders in LaFollette are trying to crack down on smoking at area parks and playgrounds. They have been working on it for about two months, drawing up an ordinance banning smoking, along with cigarette products, hoping it will protect children from secondhand smoke.

Cigarette butts litter a picnic table close to a park in downtown LaFollette.

“It doesn’t look good,” said mother of two Angelia Gray.

A proposed ordinance could do away with smoking in the city’s ball fields, skate park and playgrounds.

LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield
LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield

“I think it would be nice to get rid of it. Especially when there are children around because their lungs are still forming and growing,” said Gray.

The ordinance would ban cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes.

“They have their right to smoke and so do us non-smokers. We’re not going to intrude on your rights, so please don’t intrude on our rights,” said LaFollette Mayor Mike Stanfield.

Banning smoking isn’t a bad idea, even for those who smoke like Shonda Davis. “It’s no big deal really to have to walk outside the gate and smoke,” she said.

There are no plans for fines or tickets, but if someone is caught smoking, they’ll be asked to go outside the park to smoke. Signs will go up to let people know about the rules.

“If we can teach these young kids not to smoke, maybe they’ll have a longer life,” said Mayor Stanfield.

A final vote on the ordinance will take place in August at the next city council meeting. If the ordinance is passed, it will take effect right away.

Blount County Parks and Recreation Executive Director Joe Huff says there is no ordinance banning smoking in Maryville, Alcoa or Blount County parks. However,  this issue has been brought up in the past.

There is currently no ordinance in Knoxville regulating outdoor smoking.

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