Largo, Florida is strengthening an ordinance to ban smoking in all outdoor park structures, playgrounds, and shelters.


Largo, Florida -- In a packed chamber, it became law.

"All in favor say, 'Aye.' Opposed? Ordinance passes 6-0."

Largo commissioners strengthened an ordinance on Tuesday banning smoking in all outdoor park structures, playgrounds, and shelters, first brought to the mayor's attention by the parks department.

"The first reason, we have signs that say, 'No smoking,' but no ordinance to enforce it. Second reason, we had a lot of teenagers in park structures causing issues for regular patrons," said Largo Parks Director Greg Brown.

But does the ordinance have teeth? Even though smoking is banned in structures, the areas just outside of them are still fair game.

"Having a designated smoking area is kind of like having a pee pee zone in a swimming pool. It just doesn't work," said Largo resident Pat Edmond.

Everybody 10 News spoke with likes the ordinance, but is it effective? Smoking isn't permitted under any structures, but just inches away, it is.

"Being able to stand under the shelter and not smoke, but people can stand on the grass and smoke? That doesn't do any good. 'No smoking' should be the entire park," said Largo resident KiKi Russell.

So we pressed the mayor as to why the commission didn't make the entire park system smoke-free.

"Well, some of us wish that we had, and that may be something we do in the future. Again, that's kind of an enforcement issue, and having a police presence inside the park all the time chasing people away," said Largo Mayor Patricia Gerard.

The mayor understands it's baby steps. No smoking under structures today, no smoking anywhere in the park tomorrow ... maybe.

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