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Smoking Could Soon Be Illegal At Oregon Parks


It could soon be illegal to smoke cigarettes outdoors in Oregon's Parks. The state is considering a rule change in the New Year.

It's against the rules to smoke indoors at Oregon sites.  Richard Walkoski with the Parks and RecreationDepartment says a proposed rule would expand the ban to outdoor areas. Exceptions would be made for people smoking at campsites and inside vehicles. Walkoski says the governor proposed the change to discourage smoking and promote health. But another big issue with cigarettes is the butts:

Walkoski: "Folks don’t really think about it. I mean it's a very tiny piece of litter. But, it doesn't deteriorate. It lasts forever unless somebody comes and picks it up. So over time you get accumulations of literally hundreds and hundreds of these things in the parks."

Walkoski says cigarette butts can be harmful to wildlife and the environment. The proposed rule doesn't include the state's beaches in the smoking ban. But, public feedback makes him think a rule prohibiting smoking on Oregon's 360 miles of ocean shore could be coming soon. The Oregon Parks Department is holding public meetings on the rule change in January.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.