Nine Local Communities Go Tobacco Free in Recreation Areas

Categories: Community Engagement, Healthy Places, Tobacco Free, Tobacco Free Living

If you hate the smell of cigarette smoke while barbecuing, hiking or swimming, you may consider visiting one of these nine communities in the Monadnock Region that have gone completely tobacco free in their recreation areas.

These communities include:

  • Harrisville
  • Keene
  • Marlborough
  • Swanzey
  • Nelson
  • Rindge
  • Troy
  • Walpole
  • Winchester

These nine communities now have tobacco-free policies in place, a direct result of the effort of the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities (CCTFC), which is partnering with local communities to create tobacco-free environments in areas children frequent, i.e. parks, ball fields and beaches. The goal is to work with towns to create tobacco-free policies and provide signage for recreational areas.

Communities that have adopted these policies agree that tobacco use in recreational areas is detrimental to the health of everyone using the outdoor spaces. Youth and children exposed to smoking and tobacco use are more likely to use tobacco products when they get older.

Research shows prohibiting smoking in public places decreases the chances that kids will use tobacco products and supports adults in smoking less or stopping altogether. Annually, 1,900 New Hampshire adult deaths and $729 million in healthcare costs are directly attributable to smoking in New Hampshire.

According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2015), 11.3 percent of youth in the Greater Monadnock Region use at least one form of tobacco. By adopting tobacco-free policies, these communities are helping to reduce the rate of tobacco use and are demonstrating that tobacco use and secondhand smoke don’t belong in recreational areas where people often go to improve their fitness and enjoy nature.

Two towns — Marlborough and Swanzey — have taken it a step further and have gone tobacco-free at not only their recreational areas but on all town properties.

The CCTFC, a regional tobacco prevention and control coalition, has provided towns with metal tobacco-free signs free of charge and can assist with policy development. For more information about tobacco-free environments in the region or to volunteer with CCTFC, call Jane Skantze at 603-354-5454, ext. 2313.