Do you hate exposing your kids to secondhand smoke while swimming or watching a ball game? If so, then you may consider visiting Winchester, New Hampshire, one of nine Monadnock Region communities that have gone tobacco-free.
As of March/April 2017, Winchester now prohibits tobacco use at the ELMM Community Center and the Winchester Town Beach. The ELMM Community Center (which is several acres that include two soccer fields, basketball courts, two baseball diamonds, walking paths and also abuts the town’s school) is going to implement a site-wide tobacco free policy enforced by 12 signs.
The Town Beach in Winchester is very interested in further developing their smoke free policy which currently consists of a paper sign at the town beach. The commissioner/manager indicated that smoking is a major problem at the Winchester Town Beach and would like signage and to implement a policy.
The policies are 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.
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.