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Creating Tobacco-Free Public Parks & Outdoor Recreation Areas
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  1. Creating Tobacco-FreePublic Parks & Outdoor Recreation Areas Reducing Youth Prevalence by Limiting Exposure to Smoking and Access to Tobacco

  2. Presented by Jacqueline M. McNamara, J.D. Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation & Advocacy University of Maryland School of Law 500 W. Baltimore Street Baltimore, MD 21201 410-706-1129 (phone) 410-706-1128 (fax)

  3. Why regulate cigarette smoking and tobacco use in outdoor areas? • Health reasons • Environmental reasons • Policy reasons

  4. Health Reasons: Secondhand Smoke (SHS) • SHS exposure is dangerous, especially to children. • There is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS. • Exposure to SHS outdoors can even have negative health consequences: • A study published in 2007 found that SHS exposure in outdoor areas such as parkscan rival SHS amounts in indoor spaces.

  5. Health Reasons:Parks & recreation areas exist mainly for healthy activities

  6. Environmental reasons: LITTER • Cigarette Litter • Cigarette butts • Most prevalent form of litter on Earth • Are mostly made of cellulose acetate (a form of plastic), not readily biodegradable • Ingestible by wildlife and small children (also a health issue) • Cost money and manpower to clean up • Cigarette packaging • Smokeless/Spitless Tobacco • Spitting from smokeless tobacco (may also be health issue) • Pouches from new snus products ?

  7. Environmental reasons: PROTECTION OF PARK RESOURCES • National Park Service may designate a portion of a park area, or all or a portion of a building, structure or facility as closed to smoking when necessary to protect park resources, reduce the risk of fire, or prevent conflicts among visitor use activities. 36 C.F.R 2.21 (a)

  8. Policy reasons: • Philosophy behind parks and recreation areas is contradicted by allowing smoking and tobacco use: • Promoting healthy outdoor living and environmental awareness • Promoting fitness and recreational activities • Adult smoking in family-friendly environments like parks and recreation areas sends the wrong message to youth: • Adults as role models/smoking as non-normative behavior • Remove easy access to tobacco • initiation and sharing issues

  9. Case Study: Anne Arundel County, Maryland

  10. Maryland Tobacco-Free Recreational Facilities Rule: (a) A person may not use any form of tobacco: (1) in a restroom, at a spectator or concession area, dog park, aquatic facility, or playground in any County park; or (2) within 100 yards of an organized activity at a County park. (b) (1) “Organized activity” means an event that has a defined time for starting and ending and is in a designated or permitted area of a County park. “Organized activity” includes athletic events, concerts, and special events such as arts fairs. (2) “Park” includes recreational facility. (3) “Tobacco” to include but not be limited to cigarettes, cigars, snuff, pipes and spit tobacco.

  11. Maryland Enforcement: (a) Recreation and Parks staff shall post appropriate signage: (1) in restrooms,  and at spectator and concession areas, dog parks, aquatic facilities, and playgrounds; and (2) in locations at which organized activities take place. (b) Recreation and Parks staff shall notify community organizations and distribute brochures to park users. (c) Recreation and Parks staff shall monitor compliance. (d) For any person who violates the tobacco-free rule, Recreation and Parks staff shall request that the person cease the use of tobacco and give a verbal warning.  If the person refuses to cease, staff authorized by the Director may request that the person leave the park.

  12. Maryland The Department of Recreation and Parks has a responsibility to protect the health and safety of our community's children and adults while they use the County's recreation facilities, and adopting the Tobacco-Free policy is part of this responsibility. Secondhand smoke is harmful in both indoor and outdoor settings.  Exposure to secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in America.  Secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted. Almost 90% of adult smokers began to use tobacco at or before age 18.   (Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids) Tobacco-Free policies are public park policies similar to those prohibiting alcohol use or littering in public parks and recreational facilities.

  13. Maryland Benefits of Anne Arundel County’s Tobacco-Free Recreational Facilities Policy • Protects the health of youth and adults by eliminating exposure to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. • Encourages youth not to start using tobacco products. • Demonstrates that adults want youth to remain tobacco-free and provides youth with positive role models.

  14. What effect can such regulations have on smoking behavior? • Part of comprehensive approach to tobacco control • Denormalize smoking in family-friendly, fitness-oriented, recreational environments • Reduce access to tobacco, thus minimize opportunities for smoking initiation and sharing tobacco among youth

  15. Tobacco-Free Public Parks & Outdoor Areas “Smoke Opponents, Not Cigarettes”