Delaware City Council on July 9 heard a proposal to ban smoking, vaping and use of tobacco products in city parks.
Abbey Trimble of the Delaware General Health District and Allyson Lash, chairwoman of the City Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, spoke to council and cited instances of adults smoking during ball games and youth activities at the parks.
Smoking has drawn complaints from other parents, they said.
In one example, an adult was smoking behind a backstop during a ball game.
Ted Miller, the city's parks and natural-resources director, told council his department has reviewed a proposed ban.
He said a ban on smoking everywhere in the parks would be a preferable option, compared to establishing designated smoking areas.
Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle asked how a smoking ban would be enforced.
City Attorney Darren Shulman said if someone in a park is asked to stop smoking or leave but refuses, that person could be charged with criminal trespass.
Shulman said he is working on a draft of legislation to ban smoking in parks, but he added that Delaware's city-owned Hidden Valley Golf Course should be exempt from a smoking ban.
The course is heavily used by adults.
City Council approved beer sales at the course March 28, following a study on ways to increase the operation's revenue and keep it from running at a financial deficit.
City documents said beer sales were estimated to increase the course's annual revenue by $5,000 to $8,000 a year.
Councilman Kent Shafer said an outright smoking ban in parks is a seemingly easy solution equaling overreach.
Such a ban would affect adults walking on city trails, some of which go through parks, he said.
Councilman George Hellinger, who voted against beer sales at Hidden Valley, endorsed the smoking ban.