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What is Tobacco-Free Youth Recreation?

Tobacco-Free Youth Recreation (TFYR) is a program of the Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota (ANSR). TFYR's mission is to assist recreational organizations and communities in their efforts to create a tobacco-free environment where they can promote and model tobacco-free lifestyles.  This is accomplished by helping these groups partner with youth and adult community members to implement a recreation-based tobacco prevention strategy. 

Each year in Minnesota, more than 14,000 young people under the age of 18 become new daily smokers. More astonishingly, 123,000 youth under the age of 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Supporting tobacco-free parks and recreation areas makes sense because it sends the right message--that tobacco use is unhealthy and an unnecessary behavior.

Parks promote healthy activities.
The purpose of community park systems is to promote community wellness, and tobacco-free policies fit with this idea.

Children model adult behaviors.
Children who see adults using tobacco in a family-friendly place like a park or recreation area may think smoking is acceptable and are more likely to mimic the behavior. Toabcco-free policies encourage young people to make healthy choices. The more toabcco-free environments a community provides, the fewer opportunities for youth to start smoking.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous.
Secondhand smoke near children, youth and adults participating in or watching recreational activities is unhealthy and harmful to the health of others. Secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public places can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoking is permitted.

Cigarette litter is harmful.
Cigarette butts are a very common form of litter found in parks and recreation areas. Discarded cigarettes pollute the land and water and may be ingested by toddlers, pets, birds, or fish.

To find out if your community's park and recreation areas are tobacco-free, search our tobacco-free parks directory.  

To learn more about how you can support a tobacco-free parks and recreation policy for your community, contact TFYR.