Exactly a decade after indoor smoking became illegal in public places Illinois, the Schaumburg Park District on Jan. 1 will also ban smoking from nearly all its outdoor properties.
"As an agency that works to promote health and wellness among patrons, we want to institute policies that reflect that philosophy," Executive Director Tony LaFrenere said in a written statement on the new practice. "We hope the smoke-free measure will set a positive example and show the public we care about their safety and well-being."
The park district's Schaumburg Golf Club and Walnut Greens Golf Course will be exempt from the ban.
LaFrenere said such exemptions are fairly typical for park districts that operate golf courses, which usually include food and beverage operations. The exemptions acknowledge that some patrons may be present specifically for the restaurant or banquet facilities.
Park district officials cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's advice that smoking can increase the risk of cancer and other diseases, and that banning it from public places can protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke.
LaFrenere said enforcement of the ban is not anticipated to be a problem, with some level of self-policing expected once the public has been educated of the new policy. Staff, for instance, are currently being trained to inform violators of the ban rather than to immediately evict them from the property.
Outdoor smoking bans are gaining greater acceptance among Illinois park districts, with Chicago's having started one in 2014 and the neighboring Hoffman Estates Park District enacting its own a year ago, LaFrenere said.