Parks & Rec

The reasons why parks and recreational event locations should be tobacco-free:

  1. Secondhand Smoke is Harmful:
    •  It harms everyone. Exposure to secondhand smoke is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 49,000 nonsmokers in 2004.
    • It can be harmful in outdoor settings. According to a leading secondhand smoke expert, secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted. The 2006 Surgeon General’s report concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
  2. Cigarette Litter Causes Problems:
    • Policies reduce litter. Cigarette butts are the most common littered in the world. In addition to being a nuisance, they can also affect surrounding wildlife. Cigarette butts are not fully biodegradable and can be eaten by animals who think they are food. Tobacco-free policies reduce litter because smoking isn’t taking place anymore.
  3. Tobacco- Free Policies Promote Healthy Communities:
    • Communities everywhere are adopting policies. Communities throughout the United States are creating tobacco-free outdoor recreational facilities out of concern for the health of their citizens. In addition to cities in Minnesota, cities in Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Florida, and California have adopted tobacco-free policies for their outdoor recreational facilities. California also has enacted a state law that prohibits tobacco use at playgrounds, tot lot sandbox areas and beaches.
    • Policies create a consistent message for all outdoor recreational facilities in the community. Since many school districts prohibit tobacco use at their outdoor facilities, a tobacco-free policy for city-owned outdoor recreational facilities creates continuity and eliminates confusion about which facilities are tobacco free. A tobacco-free policy also provides support to recreational organizations that already have an existing policy and use the city’s facilities.
    • Help change community norms. Tobacco-free policies establish the community norm that tobacco use is not an acceptable behavior for young people or adults.
    • Allow leaders to model healthy lifestyle choices. In a tobacco-free environment, coaches and recreational leaders become tobacco-free role models, which sends a powerful message to youth that tobacco use is not part of a healthy lifestyle.
    • Break the connection between tobacco and sports. For years the tobacco industry has sponsored and advertised at sporting events, misguiding young people’s perception of tobacco use. Research indicates that sporting events expose youth to extensive tobacco use by people they view as positive role models.

(The information above was taken directly from the workbook Pre-Season Information: The Truths about Tobacco and Tobacco-free Parks  by the organization Tobacco Free Youth Recreation December 10, 2014. For more information click on the link )

To read about exciting partnerships related to tobacco in our area, click on the link below:

Smoke Free Community Partners

If you are interested in partnering with us to protect your community, we would love to hear from you. Contact Countryside SHIP.



Other Links: