The Williams City Council voted unanimously on December 18, 2013 to prohibit smoking of tobacco products in all city parks. The ordinance will take effect next month, 30 days following its adoption.
In addition, the Colusa City Council adopted a similar ordinance in October 2013 which also prohibits smoking in city parks. This includes the possession of a lighted or burning tobacco product or tobacco-related product within the boundaries of any park owned or controlled by the city, including designated parking areas.
Currently, 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 especially true for children who are at an increased risk for asthma, respiratory infections, colds, and ear infections when exposed to secondhand smoke. In addition, tobacco waste possesses toxic chemicals that are harmful for water quality and wildlife. With the help of Colusa Club Live students, over 1,000 pieces of tobacco litter, primarily cigarette butts, were picked up from three of Colusa County’s most visited parks in April 2013.
Based on the results of 267 public opinion polls collected between 2010 and 2013, 83% of Colusa County park visitors were in favor of making parks smoke-free. In addition, 56% of the smokers who responded to the poll were also in favor of creating a smoke-free park environment.
While enforcement is a common concern, the California Clean Air Project reports that local officials in areas with smoke-free ordinances have found the posting of clear signage to be a successful enforcement tool. Signage will be posted in all city parks to raise awareness and help encourage compliance with the ordinance. Presentations will also be given by the Colusa County Tobacco Education Program to local organizations to help raise awareness about the newly adopted policies.
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 using tobacco.
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.