COTTONWOOD -- In December, the Yavapai Anti-Tobacco Coalition of Youth, with chapters at Mingus Union and Cottonwood Middle School campaigned before the Cottonwood City Council on the dangers of smoking and the litter it creates in city parks.
The students requested the Council consider either an outright smoking ban in public parks or to create designated areas where smoking would be allowed -- with disposal receptacles -- away from high-volume gathering areas.
Cottonwood city staff found a model in a study by the Kingman Parks Department in their Smoke Free Park Zones 1-year report.
The Cottonwood Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance after that model.
Tuesday, four members of the coalition beamed from the audience as the city council approved the ordinance creating designated smoking areas for each of the five Cottonwood Parks.
Police Chief Jody Fanning told the council he was in complete support of what the kids were trying to do.
Councilman Randy Garrison said the Verde Valley Medical Center employees must leave the hospital property -- not just the building -- in order to smoke.
The council discussed penalties and the chief suggested that the fine be something like $50 for a first offense.
Make the maximum something like $250 "so you don't hamstring officers or the judge," suggested Manager Doug Bartosh.
The Council approved the ordinance unanimously.
Cottonwood is not breaking new ground. The state has been active in tobacco control for two decades and the 2006 Smoke Free Arizona Act outlawed smoking within most enclosed public spaces to reduce exposure to second hand smoke. The YATCY organization was created with support of the Yavapai Community Health Centers.
More than 900 jurisdictions across the country as well as entire states now limit or ban smoking.