City says no smoking at the ball field or other recreation setting

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 25, 2011

The City of Andalusia is prohibiting smoking in all outdoor recreation settings within the city limits. | Courtesy photo

The City of Andalusia has installed signs which enhance the enforcement of its ordinance prohibiting smoking in all outdoor recreational settings. These settings include any place designated for physical activity within the city limits.

The Alabama Department of Health (ADPH), Healthy Communities Branch has supplied signs that are in place at various locations to remind the public about the policy. ADPH and Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) have partnered on this initiative to help make all outdoor areas for physical activity in the state tobacco free.

Tobacco-free outdoor areas are important because secondhand smoke is harmful. There is no safe level. In addition, children model adult behaviors and cigarette butts are hazardous and dirty.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Two thousand of those chemicals are poisonous and 69 cause cancer.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from upper respiratory and ear infections. Secondhand smoke is especially harmful for children and adults with asthma and other chronic diseases. Smoking in outdoor venues may expose nonsmokers to levels of environmental tobacco smoke as high as or higher than received in indoor spaces where smoking is allowed.

When children see adults smoking in family-friendly places such as parks and playgrounds, they see smoking as acceptable. Parks are about clean air, natural beauty and engaging in healthy activities – tobacco just does not fit in. With this policy, Andalusia is sending a better message to our children.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. Small children can pick up littered cigarette butts or discarded tobacco plugs and put them in their mouths, which can cause choking, burns, or nicotine poisoning; not to mention the many germs that are associated with these two items. Cigarette butt cleanup is costly to tax payers, and the butts make parks and playgrounds look dirty and uninviting.

Assistant State Health Officer for Personal and community Health, Dr. Tom Miller, said, “Preventable health risk factors such as tobacco use and exposure, insufficient physical activity, and poor nutrition contribute greatly to the development and severity of many chronic diseases. This effort will protect the most vulnerable among us – our children and those with heart disease and breathing problems such as asthma – from a preventable cause of disease and premature death.”

Andalusia is among many other communities in the state that have enhanced or created policy to help keep the exposure of secondhand smoke away from our children.