RALEIGH — Stub out that cig. Stomp on that stogie. Douse that pipe, professor. No smoking in Raleigh parks.
The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday banned lighting up in all public parks and greenways but two: Nash and Moore squares downtown.
Smoking in the city's green spaces is also acceptable - if it's kept to the parking lot.
The council's 6-2 vote caps a month of debate that pitted public health against private rights. Supporters spoke of cleaner air and less litter. Opponents predicted problems with enforcement and the exclusion of residents from public spaces.
Having hashed out the issue in many meetings, the council passed the ordinance largely without discussion. Councilmen Thomas Crowder and John Odom voted against it.
Laura Aiken, executive director of Advocates for Health in Action, commended the council for reducing trash and limiting secondhand smoke, noting that Raleigh "can be a positive example for the rest of the county."
But Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity, says the law makes criminals out of people engaged in legal activity - and said it might force people to smoke indoors, near children.
"Raleigh just did this incredibly good job with the [NHL] All-Star Game," he said. "We put on a good show for visitors.
"Then I thought: 'What if one of those poor visitors made a mistake of wandering into a city park and smoking a cigarette under a tree?' "
The law takes effect July 1.
Park-loving dippers can rejoice: Smokeless tobacco is still OK.