New “Tobacco-Free” Signs Going Up in Region’s Parks

Categories: Community Engagement, Healthy Places, Tobacco Free

Several parks and recreation areas in the region will now be tobacco-free, and have signs alerting visitors that tobacco products of any kind — including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and vapes — are prohibited.

The signs are being put in place by Healthy Monadnock partner, the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco-Free Communities, with funding by CDC’s Partnerships to Improve Community Health initiative. Funds will pay for customized signage in various municipalities that will alert visitors to the tobacco-free areas.

The goal is to make six local recreation areas and/or parks tobacco free in 2017, encompassing four or five towns in the Monadnock Region.

The local initiative is the result of a new recommendation by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), which has called for a ban on the consumption and use of tobacco products at all public parks and recreation centers across the country. The organization says that prohibiting tobacco consumption and use at public parks and recreation centers will protect visitors, especially children, from unhealthy behavior and exposure to secondhand smoke. The elimination of tobacco products will also prevent millions of cigarette butts and filters from being left behind by tobacco users — an act that can harm the environment and cause fires.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States — killing more than 480,000 Americans every year. It is also known to cause harm to millions of people, including children, who are exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. There have been 2.5 million deaths associated with secondhand smoke since 1964. Public support for the elimination of tobacco products in parks and recreation centers is broad-based, according to the NRPA. A recent Park Pulse poll conducted by NRPA found that four in five Americans (79 percent) support policies that would prohibit the use of tobacco products at public parks and recreation centers.

Towns or local recreation departments interested in tobacco-free signage, contact Jane Skantze at the Coalition at 603-354-5454 x2313 or jskantze@cheshire-med.com.