Suggested by the Lakewood Youth Council, city council is currently considering a vaping and smoking ban in community parks.
“When the Lakewood Youth Council came to us with this, I was frankly a little surprised that we hadn’t already done it,” said Lakewood City Council Vice President Sarah Kepple, who is also the chair of the health and human services committee. “A lot of other communities have taken this step when we researched it.
“Usually Lakewood is a leader so we certainly don’t want to be behind on any initiative regarding our public health. It seemed like something that would be good for Lakewood and good for all of the community members and folks who use our parks.”
Expected to be passed later this year, the ordinance — introduced by Kepple and Ward 1 City Councilman Kyle G. Baker — relates to smoking, e-cigarette and tobacco use in parks.
While the legislation does include penalties for violators, Kepple stressed the goal is compliance with a public health warning attached.
The city reached out to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, which fully supports the initiative.
“Lakewood Youth Council felt it would protect the health and wellbeing of members in the public, as well as reduce litter,” Kepple said.
“Vaping usage has gone up so much, especially young people, so we took that seriously.”
As for the Lakewood Youth Council bringing the ordinance forward, Kepple said she’s proud of the next generation of city leaders.
“Lakewood Youth Council were not only very thoughtful and wise to bring this to us but also their communication was incredibly well written,” Kepple said. “We have incredible young people in Lakewood.
“We’re really proud to have their leadership. This shows exactly why we have a Youth Council, for them to bring things to our attention. I’m excited that we’re able to follow through and show when they get involved in their government that we listen to them.”
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