Cookeville Councilman Charles Womack wants state legislators to allow municipalities to regulate their own smoking and vaping laws in public areas.
Womack said the state has only allowed three venues in the entire state to have their own smoking bans, including Dogwood Park.
“We asked for an exemption three years ago and were able to get a private act passed to give us that exemption for Dogwood Park,” Womack said. “I think it’s reasonable to restrict smoking and vaping around playground facilities in our public parks, and I would like to see if we can get our representatives to give us the authority to do that.”
Womack has sponsored a resolution to be heard by the rest of City Council that asks lawmakers to support House Bill 1335 and Senate Bill 0932.
Womack said approving the bill would ultimately have a positive impact on public health.
“We believe in having the ability to do what you want, but smoking has such a public impact particularly with second-hand smoke around our kids,” Womack said. “It’s worrisome to have that available right now. Cities in other states are able to restrict smoking in public places.”
The Truth Initiative reports over 22 percent of adults in Tennessee smoked cigarettes in 2016 while nearly 12 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes and vape products in 2017.