SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association

National Recreation and Park Association

September 21, 2016 15:50 ET

NRPA Issues Position Statement on Tobacco Consumption in Parks

Organization Supports Elimination of Tobacco Products at Public Parks and Recreation Centers Nationwide

ASHBURN, VA--(Marketwired - September 21, 2016) - A new position statement issued by the National Recreation and Park Association, the leading voice of park and recreation advocates nationwide, calls for a ban on the consumption and use of tobacco products at all public parks and recreation centers across the country. The statement represents NRPA's commitment to reducing the number of people who die from tobacco or tobacco-related illnesses or who suffer from tobacco-related diseases.

NRPA believes prohibiting tobacco consumption and use at public park and recreation centers will protect visitors, especially children, from unhealthy behavior and exposure to secondhand smoke. The elimination of tobacco products will also prevent millions of cigarette butts and filters from being left behind by tobacco users -- an act that can harm the environment and cause fires. Currently, more than 1,266 park and recreation agencies in the United States have deemed their facilities tobacco-free.

"Park and recreation agencies play a key role in promoting health and wellness in the communities they serve," said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. "Eliminating the use of tobacco products at parks and recreation centers will make a positive difference in the fight against tobacco-related illnesses and diseases -- especially cancer."

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States -- killing more than 480,000 Americans every year. It is also known to cause harm to millions of people, including children that are exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. There have been 2.5 million deaths associated with secondhand smoke since 1964.

Public support for the elimination of tobacco products in parks and recreation centers is broad-based. A recent Park Pulse poll conducted by NRPA found that four in five Americans (79 percent) support policies that would prohibit the use of tobacco products at public parks and recreation centers. Support for such policies was higher among parents and college graduates.

The nation's park and recreation facilities are on the frontline in the battle against the obesity epidemic and other chronic health issues. Between 2000 and 2012, more than 85 studies have been published that link parks to better physical and mental health.

To read NRPA's position statement, visit www.nrpa.org/tobacco.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.

About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

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