Photo by Rasy Ran

If you’ve been to Kidd Springs or strolled the trail at Founders Park lately, you’ve probably noticed a number of signs encouraging park users to “Smell Flowers Not Smoke,” followed by the reminder, “Smoking is prohibited in City of Dallas Parks by law beginning March 1, 2017.” So, that is now.

The Dallas City Council last November voted, after years of debate, to outlaw smoking in most public parks, with the exception of revenue-producing facilities such as Arboretum, Elm Fork Shooting Range, The Dallas Zoo, Fair Park and city-owned golf courses. (Dallas banned smoking in restaurants in 2003 and then bars in 2009.)

Dallas Park and Recreation director Willis Winters implies that the law will be loosely enforced at first, allowing the public to become acquainted with the rule. “This is a new ordinance approved by the City Council, so we are going to spend time educating residents about the new smoking ban,” he says.

Assistant director Oscar Carmona adds that “park patrons will have to take it upon themselves to be courteous and respectful and keep our parks smoke free.”

E-cig smokers will be allowed to vape.

You might recall that two Park Board members from East Dallas, Jesse Moreno, Jr. and Paul Sims, launched the effort to ban smoking at Dallas parks, citing the negative impact of second hand smoke and the counterintuitive nature of green spaces and air pollution.

Legally, anyone cited for smoking in restricted parks will be subject to a $200 fine.