Village Councils and Park Committees throughout Adams Co. have recently adopted tobacco-free policies for their community parks. According to Sherry Stout, the Adams County Medical Foundation Director and Chairman of the Adams County Tobacco Task Force, the new policies/ordinances support the belief that tobacco use and secondhand smoke in park areas is detrimental to the health of everyone using the parks.
“Our goal is to demonstrate to youth that tobacco use is not a part of a healthy lifestyle,” Stout said. “We believe that these policies can play a part in reducing youth tobacco use in our community, which will eventually save lives.” She added that parents, officials and other community leaders can serve as positive role models for youth by choosing to live tobacco-free.
Leeann Puckett, Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition Chairman, said she is thrilled to see Adams County Villages joining the ranks of communities and park systems that are formalizing their commitment to healthy, tobacco-free living for residents.
“By adopting these policies and ordinances, Adams County is affirming that tobacco use and secondhand smoke don’t belong in park areas, where people go to improve their fitness and enjoy the outdoors,” Puckett said. She noted that these park policies will reinforce the recently-adopted Adams County/Ohio Valley Schools tobacco-free school policies, and contribute to a tobacco-free environment throughout the community. “Additionally, all projects supported by the Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition (ACHWC) must adopt tobacco free policies in order to receive our financial assistance,” continued Puckett. Two recent projects of the ACHWC that are tobacco-free include the Peebles Skate Park and the West Union Walk Path.
Local parks that have adopted tobacco free policies, to date, include Manchester, Seaman, Peebles, Locust Grove, and Winchester.
The Adams County Medical Foundation received a grant from Interact for Health to plan and implement tobacco free areas in their community. Partnering with local business and healthcare professionals, the Adams County Tobacco Task Force was developed to focus on strategies to create healthier, tobacco free environments for our youth and local citizens.
According to Debbie Ryan, Adams County Creating Healthy Communities Program Coordinator, tobacco-related diseases remain the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. And further, being a nonsmoker does not make a person immune to problems caused by smoking because secondhand smoke causes many negative health issues, including heart disease, lung disease and SIDS.
Stout added that the Adams County Tobacco Task Force is looking forward to helping other communities and organizations institute tobacco-free policies throughout Adams County. For more information about tobacco-free parks, schools, other public spaces and worksites, or to get involved with the Adams County Tobacco Task Force, contact Sherry Stout at (937) 386-3701.