Supporters of banning tobacco at local parks share the benefits

Published: Jan. 18, 2017 at 11:53 PM PST
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Generally if you want a smoke break, you have to step outside. But some people want to make certain outdoor areas smoke-free

The parks and recreations commissions for Reno, Sparks and Washoe County have only met twice in the past two years. But the idea of creating smoke-free zones in parks has been in the works for some time.

"We are just providing information, so the different park commissions can make the decisions for themselves," said Erin Dixon, Washoe County Health District Public Health Supervisor.

The three independent commissions came together January 18, 2017 to hear the benefits of allowing tobacco-, smoke- and vape-free zones in parks in their jurisdictions.

"We consider outdoor places just as important as indoor places. Most public indoor places and most work places in Nevada are covered by the Clean Indoor Care Act," said John Packham, Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition.

Dixon and Packham say the policy will benefit families, pets, and our waterways. Dixon says 85 percent of Washoe County residents are non-smokers.

"This policy would impact a smaller percentage of our residents, however it would benefit 100 percent of those who visit the parks and recreational areas," said Dixon.

She also says the policy will help with second-hand smoke and create a positive public image of the community, and it's easy to enforce.

"It has always been an ongoing conversation that we have been having about making outdoor events smoke-free. We try to encourage smoke and vape free outdoor events as well,” said Dixon.

She says nearly 1,300 cities have implemented smoke-free ordinances across the country.

"It's part of the unfinished business of tobacco prevention and control in Nevada. We are just glad that we have an opportunity to provide input on that issue," said Packham.

The next step would be for each park commission to provide a recommendation to its elected officials.