Change to ordinance prohibits smoking, vaping, use of tobacco and vapor products at City parks, greenways, and public property

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Dec. 17, 2021) – Oak Ridge City Council has passed changes to an ordinance that you’ll need to pay attention to at City parks, playgrounds, greenways, greenbelts, and ballfields – especially if you smoke or vape.

In August 2020, City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting smoking on the grounds of any city-owned playground. The change passed City Council's December meeting expands the prohibition against smoking on playgrounds to include the use of vaping products.

Additionally, the change expands the prohibition to the use of tobacco products and vapor products at parks, playgrounds, greenways, greenbelts, and other city-owned property (which includes ballfields) that are accessible by youth such as – the Oak Ridge Civic Center (Recreation Building) and common areas outside of the Oak Ridge Public Library. The prohibition does not apply to parking lots.

There are exceptions that the City Manager is authorized, but not required, to make. The City Manager can establish designated areas within these properties where smoking and/or the use of tobacco products and/or vapor products are allowed. Those areas would be designated with appropriate signage. At this time, none have been designated.

This ordinance shall become effective Dec. 23, 2021, which is 10 days after it was adopted by City Council on the second reading. While warnings may be issued by law enforcement as part of the education effort, enforcement through the use of citations shall not occur prior to February 1, 2022. After this date, violations can be reported by calling the Oak Ridge Police Department non-emergency line at (865) 425-4399.

To view the full ordinance, visit oakridgetn.gov/department/CityClerk/Government/2021-Adopted-Ordinances or click here.

To learn more about the ordinance and view frequently asked questions related to this ordinance, click here.