SF Parks Get New Tobacco Policy
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
April 01, 2013 5:25 PM
You may want to think twice about lighting up at a city park in Sioux Falls. City leaders are on a mission to snuff out smoking. Monday afternoon they announced a new policy for all city parks and playgrounds is now while children are present.
Each year, 60,000 people across the country die from second hand smoke, and now the city of Sioux Falls has decided it’s time for a change. Tobacco use at all city parks is now prohibited when youth activities are taking place. The use of tobacco is also banned at all city playgrounds. City leaders said this new policy is about keeping our kids safe.
“It's just educating the community about not smoking around young children because they are most easily influenced,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Don Kearney.
Kearney said this new tobacco free policy is a step in the right direction. He said prohibiting the use of tobacco while children are around is a preventative measure city leaders said needed to be taken.
“Research shows if they don't start at a young age, they typically won't smoke later in life,” said Kearney.
So signs like these are now posted all around Sioux Falls’ parks and playgrounds to remind those who are using them think twice before they light up.
“Second hand smoke, we want to say that it's in enclosed spaces where there isn't good ventilation that is when people start having issues. But it can happen outside as well,” said Jill Franken, Director of the Health Department of Sioux Falls.
Franken said even outside, second hand smoke can be inhaled up to 23 feet away from the smoker in all directions. But preventing second hand smoke around children is just one reason why many believe this new policy is a good thing. Franken also said kids do what they see, so eliminating the act of smoking while kids are around won’t show them the bad habit.
“If we can reduce and minimize the exposure not only of cigarette smoke, but the act of smoking, that's going to go a long way in them not even taking up the habit of smoking to begin with,” said Franken.
And Kearney said he hopes people comply with the new policy and understand it’s about saving lives and educating the public. And not taking rights away.
“It's just a small step and I think it's hard to argue it isn't a good idea not be using tobacco in front of youth,” said Kearney.
If a person is caught smoking they will be given what the city calls an extinguishing packet by local law enforcement. The packet will put up the cigarette out as well as give the person something to put it in before they dispose it.
The new policy is effective immediately.