The Portland City Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday to discuss a potential citywide smoking ban in public parks.

A full vote is already scheduled for February 18. If enacted, the smoking ban would begin in July.

The no-smoking policy expands existing smoking restrictions to more than 200 public parks facilities, trails, golf courses, recreation areas and community centers starting this summer.

The new policy includes all tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees the parks bureau, said extending the smoking ban, which already applies to Director Park, Pioneer Courthouse Square and other facilities, sends a “consistent message” throughout the public parks system.

“It helps to create healthy and safe environments within all of Portland Parks & Recreation – especially for children and youth,” Fritz said in a press release.

According to city council documents, the prohibition applies to “tobacco in any form.” The city defines smoking and tobacco to include broadly: cigarillos, cigars, clove cigarettes, e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes, snuff, marijuana and other products.

Last year, Fritz directed the volunteer Portland Parks Board to look into establishing the policy. In December, Fritz said she’d bring a formal plan.

Portland would join 64 Oregon cities — as well as Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and others — in enacting a parks smoking ban.

City golf courses could apply for a smoking permit, according to city documents.

Violators would face a misdemeanor citation. “Patrons who refuse to comply with park rules could also be subject to a parks exclusion,” according to a city press release.

Costs to implement the policy aren’t yet known. “However, issues like signage and enforcement, may have future financial impact,” documents show.

The public hearing begins at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday at Portland City Hall.

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— Andrew Theen
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