Support value of smoke-free parks

 
Posted7/4/2020 1:00 AM

I've spent my entire life as a resident of DuPage County, and as much as I acknowledge the privilege of belonging to such an idyllic community, I also feel the responsibility to continue pushing for the changes that will allow future generations to feel the same appreciation toward this community that I do. This is why it disheartens me to see that many towns in DuPage County have yet to adopt smoke-free park policies.

The effects of allowing tobacco products into our recreational areas are incredibly visible. Cigarette butts accumulate in public spaces that are often intended for children, slowly releasing toxic chemicals into our water cycle. This litter is not only unsightly and unsanitary, but also normalizes the usage of tobacco products within our community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Secondhand smoke is an additional concern, with recent studies conducted by Stanford confirming that even outdoor smoking can pose serious health risks for bystanders. Allowing smoking in our parks also prevents those with respiratory disabilities from truly enjoying outdoor spaces, requiring them to be cautious of the constant risk of secondhand smoke.

With over 1,500 municipalities in the United States taking action on this issue, it is more imperative than ever that DuPage County takes a unified and definitive stance on smoke-free park policies. As a community dedicated to the well-being of its youth, ignoring such a widespread issue is not only irresponsible but dangerous as well. Our inaction only further reinforces the usage of tobacco products in our community.

Michaela Reif

Glen Ellyn

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