The Benefits to Tobacco-Free Parks
Over the last few years, the initiative for tobacco-free parks has grown in the United States.
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
o Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals
o 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
• 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 over 175 million pounds thrown out yearly
o Cigarette butts are poisonous to children and wildlife, are slow to decompose, and are costly to clean up
• If a child swallows a cigarette butt or other form of tobacco, they are at risk for nicotine poisoning
o Tobacco litter can also pose a burn risk if they are not properly extinguished, thus endangering people and wildlife 3. Tobacco-free parks can prevent children from using tobacco in the future
• Nearly 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 www.livewell4health.org/tobacco-cessation or www.cdc.gov/tips.
You can also call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), or contact Karen Ripke, DHD#10 Tobacco Treatment Specialist, at 231- 305-8659.