A little reflection if you will…

Family enjoying the fresh air

It’s  a beautiful sunny morning and you’re trying to figure out how best to take advantage of this rare non-rainy day. You head  to  your local park to  enjoy a walk.  A perfect day!  Instead of  crisp, fresh air, you instead inhale a big whiff of cigarette smoke from a passerby along the trail. Just like that,  your hope  for a healthy day  outside goes up in a puff of smoke…literally.

In King County, more than 4,000 people die each year from heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and diabetes. Tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke are critical risk factors towards these diseases, in particular among lower income and minority populations.

Jurisdictions  across the county are working to make the park experience ideal for all, thanks to Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW). This program  was developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to help in the reduction of chronic diseases, such as those caused by tobacco use. Through this program, Public Health – Seattle & King County received a federal grant to launch a countywide initiative to reduce and prevent the use of tobacco.

Park visitors

Parks and trails play important roles in promoting healthy lifestyles in our region, and families with children are some of the most frequent park and trail visitors. Tobacco use, including second-hand smoke exposure, can have a negative impact on a person’s experience in an environment that they go to for physical activity or relaxation.  To decrease tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, Public Health – Seattle & King County awarded King County Parks funding to collaborate with other parks districts to implement a  tobacco-free parks initiative.

This is an unprecedented chance for communities across King County to join  together and with one voice to promote the health and wellness of our residents. Change takes time and is  challenging, but through this collaboration, we will work toward making King County a healthier place to live, work and play. We’ll  do our best to keep the blogosphere up–to-date on this initiative. In the meantime, if you want more info on all things CPPW, plus  King County’s role in this effort, check out these additional links.

  • Sign up to access Healthy King County, an education network for CPPW to share resources and ideas, and to see what other grantees and partners are doing. You can leave comments and questions here, or feel free to contact us directly.
  • You can also sign up for the monthly Health King County Newsletter.
  • Learn more about the national CPPW program from the CDC website.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like the idea of banning smoking in public parks. I could see banning smoking in certain areas of county parks, like seating areas at ball fields and possibly other places that people must share in close quarters.

    But to ban smoking on a trail in the woods is going too far. At this point we’re not trying to protect the non-smoker we’re trying to change the behaviour of the smoker. This is a poor use of limited public funds.

    This plan should be scrapped and the funding returned to Public Health where it could help some people.

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