District Health Department No. 10 highlights the benefits of tobacco-free parks
LAKE COUNTIES -- Over the past few years, the initiative for tobacco-free parks has grown in the United States.
District Health Department No. 10 is joining this initiative to decrease exposure, and the subsequent health consequences, of secondhand smoke to the public, and to increase positive modeling behaviors around youth.
Tobacco-free parks provide many benefits to reduce tobacco use in communities:
1. Tobacco-free parks encourage healthy living
Healthy living creates a healthy environment where people are free from the harmful chemicals and cancer-causing agents of secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals.
Exposure to secondhand smoke, from any tobacco product, can have an immediate health effect on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems among infants, children and pregnant women.
Also, building a tobacco-free environment will help eliminate visual and social cues for those trying to quit smoking or those who have previously done so.
2. Tobacco-free parks eliminate excessive litter
Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the country, with more than 175 million pounds thrown out yearly. They are slow to decompose and costly to clean up.
Tobacco litter also can pose a burn risk if they are not properly extinguished, endangering people and wildlife.
Cigarette butts are poisonous to children and wildlife. If a child swallows a cigarette butt or other form of tobacco, they are at risk for nicotine poisoning.
3. Tobacco-free parks can prevent children from using tobacco in the future
Almost 87% of tobacco users start before the age of 18. Establishing a tobacco-free park policy will continue the norm that tobacco use is not an acceptable behavior for youth.
For help quitting tobacco, visit livewell4health.org/tobacco-cessation or cdc.gov/tips.
You also may call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at (800) QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), or contact Karen Ripke, District Health Department No. 10 Tobacco Treatment Specialist, at (231) 305-8659.