Tobacco use is already prohibited at many places around the county — beaches, baseball fields, Sarasota Memorial Hospital and county facilities, such as libraries and the Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard.
County commissioners may soon add another location to that list — public children’s playgrounds.
During a debate June 28 in which the commission urged convenience stores, smoke shops and other vendors to stop the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products, Commissioner Jon Thaxton suggested creating tobacco-free zones around playgrounds.
“In my opinion, there’s good evidence on the effects of second-hand smoke and good evidence that kids at impressionable ages look to model adults’ behavior,” he said.
Thaxton, a former smoker who started smoking in middle school, said a parent asked him to create the tobacco-free zone.
“I got a call from a constituent who was surprised that we didn’t already prohibit it,” he said.
The woman was at Urfer Family Park, off Bee Ridge Road, with her child, and another parent was there with a child. The second parent had a cigarette.
Uncomfortable confronting the smoker herself, she called Thaxton to ask that something be done.
The full commission agreed to explore a tobacco-free zone.
Public input from those on both sides of the issue will be accepted before a resolution is enacted.
Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].