The Fairfax County Park Authority Board has established Tobacco-Free Play Zones in the county parks. Coming this summer: signage that will notify the public of this new designation and thank residents for their voluntary cooperation.
The signs will request that park visitors refrain from tobacco use at skate parks, playgrounds and athletic fields. Partial funding for the signs is anticipated from the Live Healthy Fairfax initiative funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant, says the FCPA.
From the park authority:
In June 2011, the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax conducted a Community Health Status Assessment. That report found that 20 percent of Fairfax County residents listed tobacco use as the most important health-related issue for this community.
With that in mind, reducing tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke became a priority item for the county and this Park Authority program was initiated. This initiative is being implemented in coordination with the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax and the Fairfax County Health Department.
Smoking increases risk for disease, disability and death for smokers and those who are exposed to second-hand smoke throughout their life. Besides the apparent health benefits any reduction in second-hand smoke or primary tobacco-use provides, there are also benefits to the environment. The reduction of cigarette butt litter will improve the health of local streams, lakes and rivers into which they migrate. Cigarette butts contain carcinogenic materials that also pose a danger to wildlife which may ingest them.
FCPA parks in Reston include Baron Cameron Park and Lake Fairfax Park.
In 2013, the Reston Association Board of Directors voted to extend no-smoking zone near Reston facilities and to install signage encouraging people to consider quitting. There is no smoking within 50 feet of RA facilities such as bike paths, pools, tennis courts and and tot lots. The previous zone was 25 feet.
RA has said there is no way to police the ban, but hopes residents will comply out of respect for non-smoking neighbors.
Photo: Baron Cameron Park/File photo