The Lee County Health Department and KSB Community Wellness support local students leading the effort toward a tobacco-free park policy.
Both organizations identified smoking as a priority health issue in their most recent community health needs assessment and support a policy that creates tobacco-free environments for all community members using park property.
By adopting such a policy, the Dixon Park Board can send a clear message of caring about the health of the children in our community.
Tobacco exposes patrons to harmful effects of secondhand smoke; the U.S. surgeon general has stated there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It is also a nuisance and safety concern.
The litter caused by tobacco use diminishes the beauty of the city’s park areas and can be ingested by young children and wildlife. We strive to teach our children the value of a clean, healthy community by not littering, and the tobacco-free policy will help reduce litter and send a healthy message.
Our parks should be places where we can go to improve our health and fitness or just relax.
Parks already regulate the use of alcohol and require owners to clean up after their pets; prohibiting tobacco products is no different. Eliminating tobacco use from parks makes the air safer to breathe, eliminates toxic cigarette butt litter, reduces fire risks, and models a fresh-air, tobacco-free lifestyle for our youth.
This is not a measure to infringe upon smokers’ rights. They would remain free to smoke elsewhere. This would protect the rights of children to breathe clean air.
We urge the Dixon Park Board to support a tobacco-free policy for our city’s parks. Please vote to protect the health of patrons of all ages and especially the young people of our community. Thank you.
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