Zoo smoking ban to benefit creatures large and small

"No Smoking" signs lined up at the Dallas Zoo ahead of a smoking ban.
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DALLAS -- Monkeys aren't the only thing 2-year-old Lilly can be exposed to at the Dallas Zoo.

Smoking has long been allowed in the public park.

"Right now, today, 25 feet from a building they can smoke," said Sean Greene, vice president of guest services at the Dallas Zoo. "As of October 1, we will have them out in the parking lot."

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Greene said the new policy solves one of the top complaints at the Dallas Zoo.

The zoo is an outdoor public park, so zoo officials had to get special permission from the Dallas Parks board to banish smoking. Dallas City Ordinance 27440 allows smoking in "an unenclosed outdoor area." The Dallas Zoo is city property, but under private management.

Klyde Warren Park also bans smoking in open areas. The Dallas Arboretum allows smoking, except in or near buildings. Smoking during concerts at the Arboretum is also discouraged.

Signs will soon be posted all over the zoo alerting visitors of the new policy. The ban includes electronic cigarettes, making the zoo one of the first in Dallas to officially prohibit vaping.

"We have to balance health of kids, adults, and our animals to an extent, as well," Greene said.

Many zoo patrons are already applauding the move.

"I have asthma, so I don't like when people smoke," Rosana Martinez said.

"We don't want the girls inhaling all the second-hand smoke," said Bobby Bell, father of two. "The animals, too. They probably don't like it much, either."

The official smoking ban begins Wednesday, October 1.