Somerton smoke ban

“It would be better to tell people you can smoke but do away from children.” says Julio Cesar Armenta Vega who is a local tobacco user.

Even though Armenta thinks it’s okay to smoke in public, he says he’s on the fence about a new decision the city of Somerton has made to force smokers out of Joe Munoz Park, Council Park, and Pirrecone Park. Parks in Somerton don’t have any signs prohibiting the use of tobacco even in the children areas but due to the recent decision made by city council members that is going to change in the near future. Officials say it was a local youth group that proposed the smoking ban in these three parks; now the city has adopted the new plan.

“I’m on recovery too from that, I haven’t smoked but sometimes it is a temptation but it will be nice to not see people smoke out here.” says Miles Coyote who is a Somerton resident.

For now the city wants to educate the community about the resolution and the dangers of tobacco use but the plan is to come up with a change that could mean fines for those smoking at parks. Some residents say they think this is a great idea.

“There is a school right here (Council Park), all the kids come out at 3-o’clock or when they get out of school, they all hang out right here, it is like second hand (smoke) and this is our future.” says Coyote.

However, for others like Armenta, parks are a place we should all share and be able to enjoy in our own way.

“To me it’s a public area I don’t know why they don’t want people to smoke knowing that the wind blows. Right now we don’t even know what we are breathing, they could be burning trash somewhere and the wind blows toward us, that’s even worse than tobacco.”

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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