Council approves anti-smoking sign for Oklahoma City parks

The Oklahoma City Council decided on an anti-smoking sign for city parks that features the design favored most by people who participated in an online vote.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: July 5, 2012

Signs discouraging smoking will start popping up in Oklahoma City's parks now that the city council has settled on a design.

The council recently voted to approve an anti-smoking policy for the parks, but the officials can't create an outright ban because of a state law that prohibits them from doing so. Instead, the city will put up signs that officials hope will keep people from lighting up.

The city Parks Commission favored a design that incorporated the state's Breathe Easy program logo, but the council went with the design chosen by about half of the 234 people who voted last week. About a quarter of the voters liked the Parks Commission's choice best, and the rest of the voters were split on two other options.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to pick the voters' top choice.

The 12- by-18-inch signs should start appearing soon.

“We're going to try to do it as quickly as possible, but manufacturing is going to take a little while,” city spokeswoman Kristy Yager said.

Officials aren't yet sure how many of the signs will be posted or which parks will get them first. They intend to focus on parks most used by children and eventually to have at least one sign in every park.

The Tobacco Endowment Settlement Trust has offered to contribute to the cost for the signs, Yager said. The trust is funded by Oklahoma's $2 billion settlement with the tobacco industry to recover tax money used to treat smoking-caused illnesses. The trust spends the money on efforts to prevent tobacco use.

Council members cited their desire to protect children in parks from secondhand smoke as a primary reason in wanting to adopt the smoke-free policy.

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