PORTLAND — A ban on smoking in public parks is expected to be kicked back to committee when the City Council meets tonight, according to the mayor.

Mayor Michael Brennan said the proposed ban will likely be sent back to the Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee so it can further define exactly what areas would be included in the ban.

Councilor Edward Suslovic said an issue was raised when legal staff began crafting ordinance language for the proposed ban and discovered there is no legal definition of public parks.

“It became clear to staff and it became clear to me there was a lot more to this than simply stating public parks,” Suslovic said. “It’s not like someone is lobbying us to undo it.”

The city currently lists its 38 parks online. But Suslovic said the committee will have to decide whether other open spaces – such as the Riverside Municipal Golf Course, Monument Square, Maine State Pier, and the like – should be included in the final recommendation to the full council.

State law currently bans smoking in bars and restaurants. In recent years the city has extended that ban to outdoor dining areas, schools, playgrounds and beaches.

“As these issues have been brought to us, we’ve consistently said the rights of smokers are trumped by the right to breathe clean air,” Suslovic said.

The committee held a public hearing this summer about banning smoking in private clubs, but decided against it.  

Suslovic said he has also been contacted about including bus stops in the ban.

“That might be a whole separate category to take up,” he said.