Evanston’s beaches will be cigarette butt-free this summer if the full City Council adopts an ordinance approved unanimously by the Human Services Committee Monday.

The ordinance would ban smoking on the beach and in city tot lots and playgrounds all over town.

Parks Chief Doug Gaynor said the ban would not apply to city parks adjacent to the beaches or to non-playground areas of other large parks.

Gaynor says the City of Chicago has already adopted a similar ban, and a recreation board member said if Evanston doesn’t follow suit it would amount to an invitation to Chicago smokers to use Evanston beaches.

Gaynor said that in addition to second-hand-smoke concerns for beachgoers, the city has had reports of barefoot children being injured when they accidentally stepped on smoldering cigarette butts on the beaches.

And, he said, the city’s beach-cleaning machinery isn’t very effective in filtering out cigarette butts from the sand.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Thank you, Human Service Committee!
    This is an excellent ordinance that will provide cleaner beaches in Evanston. I hate walking through the sand at the beach when it’s littered with cigarette butts. Please pass this ordinance, City Council!

  2. Paths too!?!?!?
    How awesome would this be if the ordinance covered paths as well along the lake front!!

  3. Such foolishness!
    Well! The E-town City Council is at it again, regulating more and more aspects of a citizen’s private life. Now that they ran the honey bees out of town they can turn their attention to some other equally goofy regulations.

    Last time I checked, the beach is outdoors. If the outdoors isn’t a smoking area, where is?

    Last time I checked, smoking is legal in E-town. And cigarettes are sold in many stores in fair Evanston, yes?

    Why single out cigarettes? Wandering E-town beach-kiddies can step on a smoldering cigar or a smoldering heap from a pipe as easily as a smoldering cigarette. Where will this silly busybody business end?

    Can we expect regulations requiring sunbathers to slather SPF 50 on their exposed skin, because skin cancer is dangerous? How about a ban on peanut butter sandwiches at the beach, because so many children are allergic to nuts?

    Perhaps the city should consider a ban on negative thoughts at the beach. That would keep the sand City Council free. I think I’d like that!

    1. Peanut Butter and Jelly time!!!!
      It’s actually the preservatives used in peanut butter that many kids are allergic to. While agree that the city sometimes gets a little trigger happy making more government, a regulation like this I don’t mind. If you must take part in killing yourself slowly on a beach, go to Rogers Park.

  4. Beach Blanket Butts
    Great Idea—we could save allot of money on signs too reducing the already bloated amount of rules to a simple –“NOTHING ALLOWED”…Evanston legislators behave as if stupidity were a virtue

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *