Del. Holmes Norton calls for smoking ban in all DC national parks

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) on Thursday called for a ban on smoking on the National Mall and in nearly two dozen other National Park Service (NPS) areas across Washington.

In a letter to National Park Service Regional Director Steve Whitesell, Norton said the agency has the authority to prohibit smoking at all of D.C.’s national parks, trails and sites that it oversees.

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“One should not go to an NPS park to enjoy the outdoors and find smoke instead of fresh air,” Norton wrote. 

“Freedom from second-hand smoke in the outdoors is particularly important in big cities like D.C., where pollution and traffic congestion already contribute to health conditions similar to those caused by second-hand smoke,” she added.

A bill to ban smoking on all of city-owned parks within 25 feet of a playground is currently pending before the D.C. Council. Norton said that measure would have little impact because the Park Service oversees the majority of the District’s parks.

The list of National Park Service sites in the District includes the Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, Rock Creek Park and Anacostia Park.