As a city committed to the well-being of its residents, Cedar Rapids must take action and designate our parks as tobacco free. There are countless reasons this action makes sense and is the right thing to do for the people who live, work, play in and visit Cedar Rapids.
Community parks are created to provide a variety of healthy, active and positive opportunities. Children, families and those focused on improving their health use city parks the most and tobacco use in parks significantly impacts their experience.
Let’s take a look at the impact on children — children model adult behaviors. Children who see adults using tobacco products in a family-friendly place may begin to think tobacco use is acceptable and are more likely to mimic that behavior. In addition, cigarette butts lying amid play areas are picked up, handled by and can be ingested by an innocent and curious child or a family pet.
You may be wondering whether other cities have tobacco free parks. Well over 1,000 cities nationwide have supported community well-being by making these changes. Many cities at the state level have followed suit. Marion, West Des Moines, Ely, Springville, Lisbon, Mount Vernon and Center Point have designated their parks nicotine/tobacco free.
A 2015 survey revealed about 90 percent of Linn County residents favored tobacco free parks. This change is something our residents want and something that is a vital step for our city to demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of our residents and our visitors.