There was a time when smoking was promoted as being glamorous and “everybody” did it — before we realized the health consequences for smokers and those in their proximity. It’s the dangers of secondhand smoke as well as the litter left behind by smokers that has caused many park departments and city administrators to enact tobacco-free policies and ordinances for their parks.
Justin Hurdle’s October 2016 article in the National Recreation and Park Association’s Parks & Recreation magazine, “Smoke-Free Parks: Why Parks and Recreation Departments Should Lead the Effort,” states in the summer of 2011, “The NRPA Board of Directors adopted a statement encouraging the establishment and maintenance of tobacco-free facilities.”
The article said that decision was based on the belief that it would protect the health of workforce, visitors and environment. It also stated there are many reasons for instituting such policies and one reason is the damaging effects of secondhand smoke.
“There are also environmental and cost-saving benefits associated with tobacco bans. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable so they remain visible until physically removed,” according to the article.
In fact, a study published in Tobacco Control in 2011 estimated that tobacco litter comprised up to 36% of all visible litter with an estimated cost of removal varying from $3 million to $16 million.
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