Each year in Iowa, more than 2,600 youth under the age of 18 become new daily smokers. More astonishingly, 55,000 youth who started smoking under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco use in Iowa is also concerning. Male high school students use in Iowa stands at 17.5%, which is 3% higher than the male smokeless rate in the U.S.
Supporting tobacco-free parks and recreation areas sends an important message: both smoking and smokeless tobacco are harmful to the community and environment.
Implementing tobacco-free parks and outdoor areas policy is important for the following reasons:
Tobacco-free Parks Promote Healthy Communities
- Community parks provide a variety of healthy, active and positive recreation opportunities to the community. A tobacco-free policy reinforces the purpose of parks and outdoor spaces; to be active, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.
Children Model Adult Behaviors
- Children who see adults using tobacco in a family-friendly environment such as a park or recreation area may think tobacco use is acceptable and are more likely to mimic the behavior.
- Tobacco-free policies encourage young people to make healthy choices. The more tobacco-free environments a community provides, the fewer opportunities for youth to start using tobacco.
Secondhand Smoke is Harmful
- The 2006 Surgeon General's Report concludes that there is NO safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can be as dangerous as those found in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted.
Tobacco Litter is Dangerous
- Tobacco litter is not only unsightly; clean-up is time-consuming and costly to tax payers. Discarded cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products pollute land and water and may be ingested by children or animals.
- Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and can start fires.
Community residents, city councils and parks and recreation departments can make a lasting impact on tobacco use in their community when addressing tobacco use in public venues. A policy greatly improves the outdoor environment for local families and visitors. If you are interested in working to create tobacco-free parks in your community, please contact us.
|City of Adel Parks and Trails||The City of Adel implemented a Tobacco-free Parks and Trails Policy on January 1, 2013.|
|City of Dallas Center Parks and Trails||The City of Dallas Center implemented a Tobacco-free Parks and Trails Policy on July 10th, 2012.|
|City of Perry Parks||The City of Perry implemented a Tobacco-free Parks Policy on May 7th, 2012.|
|Van Meter City Parks and Trail||The City of Van Meter implemented a Tobacco-free Parks and Trails Policy on May 13, 2013.|
|City of Mitchellville||The City of Mitchellville implemented a Tobacco-free Parks policy on September 16th, 2013.|
|City of Prairie City||The City of Prairie City implemented a Tobacco-free Parks & Trails policy on October 7th, 2013.|
|City of Winterset Parks||On January 1, 2013 the City of Winterset implemented a tobacco-free parks policy for all city owned parks.|
|City of Windsor Heights||The City of Windsor Heights implemented a Tobacco-free Parks & Trails policy on July 1st, 2013.|
|Ankeny Dog Park||The Ankeny Dog Park is a tobacco-free environment as of opening day on September 17th, 2010.|
|City of Indianola Parks||The City of Indianola implemented a tobacco-free parks policy on January 10, 2007 for all city owned parks.|
|City of Carlisle||The City of Carlisle implemented a Tobacco-free Parks policy on July 1, 2008.|