Public Health vs. Smokers' Rights

Escondido is one of the last cities in San Diego County to allow smoking in its parks, but that might be about to change, the North County Times reported.

The Escondido City Council has consistently rejected proposals to ban smoking in parks, with council members contending that the rights of smokers should trump concerns about second-hand smoke, toddlers swallowing discarded cigarette butts and careless smokers igniting wildfires.

But three of the five council members said Tuesday that they were open-minded about a new plan to ban smoking in city parks that has been proposed by a coalition of North County public health advocates, local teens and Escondido social service groups.

The council will soon be presented with the proposal, which would also ban smoking on the city's hiking trails and open spaces, according to the paper.

And in case council members think a complete ban would go too far, they will be presented with an alternate proposal that would restrict smoking to designated areas within parks, trails and open spaces.

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