By Hadas Kuznits

BERLIN, N.J. (CBS) — Officials in Camden County, NJ say they are getting serious about a three-year-old ordinance banning smoking in public parks.

Camden County freeholder Jeffrey Nash says the county will now be enforcing the smoking prohibition.

nash jeffrey thumb  hadas Camden County Begins Enforcement of Smoking Ban In Public Parks

(Jeffrey Nash. Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

“People enjoy our parks.  We don’t want them to be subject to obnoxious, secondhand smoke,” he says.

Signs have been posted, and he wants park visitors to know that officials will be enforcing the no-smoking ordinance.

“The signage is new.  It’s going to go in each of our 20 park systems where we have playgrounds.  The signs say ‘Tobacco-Free Playground Zone,’ (and that) it’s a family-friendly area in Camden County.”

The fine, after an initial warning, is $50, he notes.

Jessica Backofen with the American Red Cross believes this will lessen the allure of smoking.

backofen thumb  hadas Camden County Begins Enforcement of Smoking Ban In Public Parks

(Jessica Backofen. Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

“Kids, and especially teens, are so easily influenced by adult smoking behavior,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “So by eliminating public exposure you not only have an impact on the health, but on the risk of young people that will start to smoke.”

Nash also believes it will alleviate the burden on taxpayers.

“We have people who spend a lot of time in each of our parks cleaning them up, and the cigarette butts are a particular problem,” he notes.

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