Back in the day, smokers could light up wherever they wanted. Then they were relegated to restaurant and workplace smoking sections. Then they were told to take it outside. Now Arlington County is asking smokers to take it a little further outside. Starting today, during the American Cancer Society’s 36th annual Great American Smokeout, Arlington County is asking park users to refrain from smoking within 50 feet of areas where people congregate, such as ball fields, pavilions and playgrounds.
Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada kicked off the county’s smoke-free parks initiative today at 2 p.m. Tejada will be joined at Bon Air Park by Delegate Patrick Hope (47th District) and Keenan Caldwell, the American Cancer Society’s state director of government relations for Virginia.
Here’s more from Arlington’s smoke-free park initiative:
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe threshold of exposure to second-hand smoke. To the extent possible, it is important for the county to take action to prevent park patrons' exposure to this dangerous health hazard. Children may be especially vulnerable, which is why the Smoke-Free Parks Initiative is specifically targeting areas where children congregate.
Because of the nature of the County's current authority to ban smoking in outdoor public spaces, the initiative's initial approach is to ask park users to respect our community values related to a healthy and safe environment by helping us to reduce second-hand smoke exposure in parks.