KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s getting more difficult to light up in the city. The City Council unanimously approved Tuesday an ordinance to further ban smoking at city properties as well as vaping.

Dxvon Johnson is a big fan of bringing his son and nephews to Knoxville’s parks.

“I really just come for the joy of seeing them running around and play, just having fun so I just enjoy seeing that,” he said.

Johnson also said he enjoys smoking the occasional tobacco product. While he partakes himself, Johnson said there’s a time and place to smoke or vape.

City council members agree. Before Tuesday, smoking at a Knoxville playground was not allowed. But now under the new ordinance, smoking and vaping are prohibited at city parks, playgrounds, greenways, and city property.

“We worked with the Knox County Health Department, and we realized vaping is the new thing and we see a lot of young people vaping,” said Knoxville Parks and Recreation Director Sheryl Ely. “Young people use our parks a whole lot. So as we’re looking at this, we want to make sure we’re being an advocate for healthy outcomes and healthy things happening in our parks,”

In 2020, Gov. Bill Lee authorized city governments to create rules against smoking tobacco and vapor products at public parks, playgrounds, greenways, or any property that is accessible to youth.

“Our goal is to really keep people healthy and keep people safe,” Ely said. “I think this is an avenue that will allow us to do that and partner with other organizations to do so.”

According to Ely, the new smoking ordinance is being implemented as an educational tool.

“We really want people to realize the impacts of smoking,” she said. “What most people will focus on is whether not there’s a punitive effect on it, but really what we want to do is educate people. Let them know the dangers and the risks that happen around children and adults.”

Even though new smoking and vaping rules are in motion, Johnson believes they are not infringing on his rights as a smoker.

“This is for the kids, so I really don’t feel like it’s doing anything towards my rights,” he said. “It ain’t like I can’t smoke, I just can’t smoke here.”

Ely added if you do see someone smoking or vaping at a city property, talk to them nicely about it. More signage will be purchased and placed at city properties informing people of the new rules.

Several other Tennessee municipal governments have smoking and vaping ordinances on the books. In December, Oak Ridge leaders banned vaping at city-owned parks and sports fields.