Bensenville bans smoking in village-owned parks
Bensenville has banned smoking in its village-owned parks as part of a communitywide push to focus on healthy living and wellness.
The ban, approved late last month by the village board, prohibits use of nicotine and tobacco products as well as electronic cigarettes in Town Center Park, Veterans Park and the Redmond Recreational Complex. Cannabis use in public places already is banned statewide.
"Secondhand smoke has major negative effects on a person's health and is said to have contributed toward thousands of deaths each year in the United States," Village President Frank DeSimone said in a written statement. "By approving these common-sense regulations, we will help reduce the chance of families being affected from secondhand smoke while also bringing awareness to this nationally recognized issue."
Roughly 75% of respondents to a recent survey by the DuPage County Health Department indicated they support tobacco-free policies in village-owned parks. Of those who had visited a park in DuPage within the past year, 45% said they had been bothered by tobacco smoke.
Village Manager Evan Summers said the ban took effect immediately, although its impact probably won't be noticed until spring when park use increases. He said citations could be issued to offenders, but the village initially will focus on education.
The village has sent its ordinance to Bensenville Park District, which may consider a similar prohibition, he said.
Bensenville is not the first community to take such action. Naperville Park District adopted a similar ban in August 2018 at all its parks, exempting only two golf courses and the downtown Riverwalk.
Executive Director Ray McGury said the district considered a ban for months before enacting it in response, at least in part, to an argument that developed in Nike Park between a group of smokers and a group that wanted them to stop.
"We have not had one issue" since the ban went into effect, McGury said Monday. "There have been zero complaints."
The Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove and Chicago park districts also have long-standing bans.
The Bartlett village board discussed adopting one at village-owned parks earlier this year, but agreed to table any action after a high school student complained that officials were overstepping their bounds and should instead consider designated smoking areas at the facilities.