As of October 8, 2011 ordinance 01-11 has been in place prohibiting the use of all tobacco products within 50 feet of the edge of Arbuckle parks, including bleacher areas and access roads. The ordinance also states no person shall ride a skateboard, damage or deface any property owned or used by Arbuckle Parks and Recreation District, or possess or consume alcoholic beverages unless they are issued a permit. Violations of this policy may be charged as either an infraction or misdemeanor.
Ellen Voorhees, President of the Arbuckle Parks and Recreation District, states “We felt our district needed to make this commitment to keep our parks looking beautiful. Recreation should be accessible to all individuals and they deserve parks that are free from negative influences. We are trying to hold our district to a higher standard.”
More than 100 California communities have adopted smoke-free park policies which not only make outdoor areas more conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but protect people from secondhand smoke and decrease the amount of pollution from tobacco litter.
According to the Surgeon General, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This is not only harmful for adults but the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports it also places children at an increased risk for asthma, respiratory infections, colds, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While secondhand smoke poses a threat to one’s health, cigarette butts possess toxic chemicals that are harmful for water quality and wildlife. In June 2011, over 1000 pieces of tobacco litter were picked up from three of Colusa County’s most visited parks.
Based on the results of 267 public opinion polls conducted at parks in Arbuckle, Colusa and Williams, 80% of the park visitors would be in favor of making parks smoke-free. In addition, 50% of the smokers who responded to the poll would also be in favor of creating a smokefree park environment.
While enforcement is a common concern, Voorhees notes “Colusa County Council and the Sheriff’s Department have been extremely helpful with this resolution, signage and enforcement.”
The California’s Clean Air Project also reports that local officials in areas with smokefree ordinances have found the posting of clear signage to be a successful enforcement tool. The Colusa County Tobacco Education Program provides educational materials about the health effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke as well as resources for individuals who wish to quit smoking.
For more information regarding Colusa County Tobacco Education Program or smoke-free park policies contact Rebecca Root at 530- 458-0380 or Rebecca.Root@ colusadhhs.org. ■