Pushing for tobacco-free parks

CHARLES CITY, Iowa – There is a new push to make parks around one north Iowa town a little bit healthier.

The Charles City Park and Recreation Board, along with FOCUS, a Floyd County substance abuse prevention program, are working together to eliminate tobacco use at public parks throughout the city.

With 13 parks scattered around town, it might sound like a major task, however Park and Recreation Director Steve Lindaman says that the community seems to be on board and supportive of the project.

“I think it will be relatively simple I think it’s first determining what areas want to impact then it would probably be primarily posting signage,” Lindaman said.

The jumping off point for the project was the concern that kids are being exposed to second hand smoke.

FOCUS Prevention Specialist Shelley Smith says that having smoke-free playgrounds will be beneficial in more ways than one.

“We’re looking at this as more of a health issue related to young people, both with exposure to secondhand smoke, and for imitating the use of tobacco,” Smith says, “if we can look at preventing that with the modeling and the environment that’s around them, that’s what or hoping to promote here.”

The plan is to post signs in city parks asking people to withhold from smoking on the park premises.

An idea for one of the signs would be to say, “Please do not smoke, there are healthy lungs at play.”

While some might be frustrated with this transition to a smoke-free environment, Smith says she hopes their creative signs will help people understand the harm smoking has on those around them.

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