After a local girl suggested the action, the Webster Groves City Council on March 5 introduced legislation prohibiting smoking in city parks. A final vote is set for March 19.

In January, Emelia “Emy” Caruthers, 11, a student at Steger Sixth Grade Center, presented to the council a proposal to ban smoking in Webster’s public parks.

Her effort started last semester when she did a research project on the effects of smoking with her WINGS program, one of the gifted programs with the Webster Groves School District. After getting into the project and learning about the dangerous effects of smoking and second-hand smoke, Caruthers decided to do something to help prevent smoking and to limit smoking around innocent bystanders, especially children.

The legislation states the city is concerned that exposure to second-hand smoke “is harmful to the health and well being of anyone who comes into contact with it (and) the only way to avoid or prevent exposure to second-hand smoke in city parks is to prohibit smoking.”

During the meeting, Caruthers thanked city officials for their action, adding “I’m very glad my project came this far.”

City officials pledged to send a signed copy of the legislation to Caruthers after the final vote, with Welch saying “I don’t sense any opposition” to the bill. “And, when the first no smoking sign goes up, she’ll get a photo,” Welch said.