Supporting tobacco and nicotine-free parks and recreation areas sends an important message: both tobacco is harmful to the community and the environment.
Implementing tobacco-free parks and outdoor areas policy is important for the following reasons:
Promote Healthy Communities
Community parks provide a variety of healthy, active and positive recreation opportunities to the community. A tobacco and nicotine-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 and nicotine-free policies encourage young people to make healthy choices. The more tobacco and nicotine-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. In 2016, the Surgeon General also concluded that secondhand emissions from electronic cigarettes are harmful.
Tobacco Litter is Dangerous
Tobacco litter is not only unsightly, but clean-up is time-consuming and costly to tax payers. Discarded tobacco products pollute land and water and may be ingested by children or animals. This could include cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electroinic juice containers, etc.
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 health and outdoor environment for local families and visitors. If you are interested in working to create tobacco and nicotine-free parks in your community, please contact us to learn more.