Tobacco-Free Parks

Tobacco-Free Parks

Tobacco-Free Parks Make Sense

Author: Family Health Services Staff/Friday, June 3, 2016/Categories: Home Page, Tobacco Control and Prevention

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Tobacco-Free Parks

Did you know that approximately 7% of Will County eighth grade students and about 23% of Will County twelfth grade students are currently using tobacco products? (Will County Illinois Youth Survey, 2014). According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, about 11,100 kids under 18 become new daily smokers in Illinois each year. As youth are easily influenced by the people around them, how can we, as a community, work to ensure that youth are surrounded by positive role models? By prohibiting tobacco use at recreational facilities, parks, and playgrounds, we can help establish a tobacco-free community norm and can promote a healthier environment!

Tobacco-Free Parks Makes Sense for the Community:

It’s Healthier!

  • Secondhand smoke is still harmful in outdoor public places. It can reach levels as high as in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted.
  • Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Non-smokers that are exposed to outdoor tobacco smoke can suffer immediate symptoms such as breathing difficulties, eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and asthma attacks.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency categorizes secondhand smoke as a known human carcinogen, a cancer-causing chemical, in the same category as radon, benzene, and asbestos.

It’s Green!

  • Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. They are also a fire hazard, can increase park maintenance expenses, and can be eaten by toddlers, birds, pets, and other animals.
  • Cigarette filters are not biodegradable and can take at least 5-10 years to decompose.
  • The chemicals in cigarette butts, such as hydrogen, cyanide, and arsenic, can leak in to the soil and water.

It Promotes Healthy Communities!

  • Tobacco-free policies establish the community norm that tobacco use is an unacceptable behavior for youth and adults.
  • Coaches and recreational leaders become tobacco-free role models, illustrating to youth that tobacco use is not a healthy lifestyle choice.
  • Tobacco-free parks break the connection between tobacco and sports. Sports and other physical activity improve health and help reduce preventable diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. However, secondhand smoke and tobacco use increase the risk of these same preventable diseases.

 Be Part of a National Trend:

All over the country, Municipalities and Park Districts are developing tobacco-free/smoke-free outdoor policies: http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/SmokefreeParks.pdf.

In Will County, Frankfort Park District is Tobacco-Free! The following map illustrates Will County Municipalities and outdoor tobacco-free or smoke-free parks and recreation policies!

In Will County, Frankfort Park District is 100% Tobacco-Free! Also, due to the efforts of the Wilmington Reality IL teens, the City of Wilmington unanimously approved a tobacco-free zone ordinance on December 15, 2015. This ordinance restricts all tobacco use and e-cigarettes in three of their parks.

Currently, 55% of Will County municipalities have a partial or 100% smoke/tobacco-free policy. The following map illustrates Will County Municipalities and outdoor tobacco-free or smoke-free parks and recreation policies:

We Can Help:

If you are interested in your community parks going tobacco-free and need resources and assistance, please contact the Tobacco Control & Prevention Program at (815) 727-8769. Download the Materials Request Form (located in the “Documents to Download” section) to order tobacco-free parks toolkits, brochures, posters, signage, etc. All of our services and materials are FREE!

Please take this community survey! This survey is intended for Will County residents and should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

Resources:

Americans for Nonsmokers Rights: Sample Policies and Smoke-Free Lists: http://www.no-smoke.org/

American Lung Association of Illinois: Tobacco-Free Parks: http://www.lung.org/associations/states/illinois/healthy-outdoor-air/

Illinois Association of Park Districts: Secondhand Smoke Position Statement: http://www.ilparks.org/?page=IAPD_Position_Papers

Legacy: The Impact of Tobacco Litter: http://www.legacyforhealth.org/our-issues/cigarettes-and-the-environment

References:

American Lung Association of Illinois: Tobacco- Free Parks: http://www.lung.org/associations/states/illinois/healthy-outdoor-air/

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: The Toll of Tobacco in Illinois: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_us/illinois

Lake County Health Department: Tobacco-Free Parks Makes Sense: http://health.lakecountyil.gov/Population/Pages/Tobacco-Free-Lake-County-Fact-Sheets.aspx

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Family Health Services Staff

Family Health Services Staff

Family Health Services
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Family Health Services

The Family Health Services Team strives to improve the quality of life by promoting health and preventing illness through education and exceptional client-centered services to the diverse community of Will County.

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