SF Parks To Get New Tobacco Policies
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
March 31, 2013 3:31 PM
Monday city leaders are coming together to announce a new tobacco use policy for all city parks and playgrounds in Sioux Falls. But you may have noticed there are already signs stating the new policy posted in parks, and soon all of the city’s parks will have them. The signs state that tobacco use is prohibited during youth activities. And residents said this change will be a good thing.
Mark Henkelman is the father of two young children. He said not being allowed to use tobacco during youth activities at city parks or playgrounds is a step in the right direction.
“I don't care if you smoke in your home, but I guess around children in parks is probably not the best thing for them,” said Henkelman.
That’s the reason why city officials said it needs to be regulated. They said outdoor tobacco smoke can be inhaled up to 23 feet away from a smoker in all directions. And according to the Center for Disease Control, second hand smoke can cause illness ranging from an ear infection to pneumonia in young children. Something city leaders said no parent should have to worry about when they take their kids out to get a little ‘fresh air.’
"The health risks are clearly there, and I just think it's in support of better health,” said Henkelman.
And Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said that’s exactly what this new policy is all about.
"We are 160,000 strong. But one of our greatest challenges really aren't our roads, not the events center, not the indoor aquatic center, one of our greatest challenges is our health,” said Huether.
Huether said limiting where and when people can smoke in Sioux Falls will help not only those who smoke, but those around them maintain healthier life styles.
"I think men and women that smoke, I think they realize that they probably don't want to impede or influence the health of young people,” said Huether. “And I don't think they'll find that it will be that tough of a deal to just move a few feet away when you want to light up that cigarette."
Which some said is a small step in helping keep our children safe and our parks clean.
"Nobody is saying you can’t smoke anymore. You just have fewer places to smoke. I think that's the overall message,” said Henkelman.
City leaders also said this new policy is also aimed to help adults become better role models for children. They said what adults do or say affects children. So they hope by taking smoking out of parks when children are around could make it less likely for them to start the habit.
The new policy is set to take effect sometime in the spring.