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Oregon agency won't press for beach smoking ban

Publication Date: 2014-11-07
  • Author:AP
  • Publication:The Register-Guard

A plan to ban smoking on Oregon's beaches that ran into substantial opposition has been shelved.

Officials said it would have been tough to enforce the prohibition along the 362 miles of Oregon coastline, all of which is public and much of which is wild and isolated.

The department proposed the rule in February as a way to reduce secondhand smoke and litter.

"If we can accomplish those goals without a rule that would be difficult to enforce, we should try that first," said spokesman Chris Havel of the state Parks and Recreation Department. "This doesn't mean we'll never consider making it a rule, but we're going to see how much headway we can make with education first, and, hopefully, that will be enough."

Gov. John Kitzhaber has told state agencies to reduce the public's exposure to secondhand smoke. In response, the agency banned smoking in most parts of state parks, including trails and picnic areas, effective Jan. 1.

Havel says that rule got more public support. In public hearings and written comments, proponents and opponents of the beach prohibition were of roughly equal numbers.

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