8,500 Maine kids try cigarettes for the first time each year, and 3,800 Maine kids become new smokers every year. Even for those who do not use tobacco, secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoke is unrestricted.
Tobacco-free recreation is the first step in changing the community norm of acceptability of smoking in recreational areas and is part of a comprehensive approach to tobacco use prevention and control. Community recreation programs are essential partners in helping to protect our children from the health risks associated with tobacco use and addiction. Policies that send strong, clear, and consistent anti-tobacco messages can play an important role in preventing youth from starting to use tobacco products.
The Tobacco-Free Community Recreation Manual provides local health advocates, municipal officials, recreation department board members, and recreation staff with the tools to develop comprehensive anti-tobacco policies for local recreation programs. It provides information about why sending a clear message to youth and breaking the connection between tobacco and recreation is important for prevention, and helps communities create Tobacco-Free policies. It also supplies presentation materials, resources and action steps toward achieving these goals.
Many other communities have created tobacco-free policies. You can find these and other success stories in the Tobacco-Free Community Recreational Manual. Visit our Order Materials page to request a manual for your community and take the first step in supporting our mission to protect kids from the health risks of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.