MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Starting next year all tobacco products, including vaping, will be banned from parks in Berkeley County.
That decision came during Tuesday’s Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation board meeting.
Members voted unanimously in favor of the ban that Parks and Rec Executive Director Steve Catlett said will improve the parks for many.
“From my perspective as an administrator, we do get complaints about smokers who don’t respect non-smokers,” he told board members.
Catlett cited the Toni Saylor Summer Concert Series at War Memorial Park as just one example of where smokers will light up without thinking about those around them.
He said it also creates a lot of litter and cost as staff have to spend time cleaning up cigarette butts.
Catlett acknowledged that enforcing the rule could be an issue.
“Are people still going to smoke? Yes, but maybe it is going to make them more aware about smoking around other people.”
Catlett said he hears that smokers at Oatesdale Park, where smoking has already been banned, at least move to an area away from other visitors.
Catlett had originally proposed banning smoking in city parks but the board moved to make it effective system wide.
He said City Attorney Kin Sayre said the city did not need to sign off on the decision.
No smoking signs will be erected at area parks over the next several months ahead of the Jan. 1, 2018 effective date.