Every year, about 175 million pounds of cigarette butts are tossed out worldwide. Toxic waste is being released into the soil and waterways. Cigarette butts can harm plants, grasses, and animals. They also pose a fire risk for parks and other recreation facilities. Tobacco free parks decrease the unsightly tobacco trash and ensure that parks are healthy, safe, and fun places for youth and families.
Last year, the National Recreation and Park Association issued a statement of support for tobacco free parks stating that such policies bring people together to pursue healthy lifestyles, leisure activities, and physical activity. There is also an economic benefit because picking up tobacco trash in parks cost cities money. Eliminating tobacco from parks is good for people, the environment, and the city’s bottom line.
As of April 2017, over 1,400 municipalities have implemented 100% tobacco-free park policies in the United States (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2017). Furthermore, tobacco use and the use of e-cigarettes is not allowed on any state lands or parks in the state of Oklahoma or in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2016). Omaha can be the next city to have a tobacco free parks policy…Let’s make it happen! Protect our children and our environment!