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Information for Local Policy Makers

Download our guide for policy makers. The guide includes information about the benefits of tobacco-free park policies and how policy makers can adopt tobacco-free policies for their parks and recreation areas. 

Tobacco-free policies for parks & outdoor recreation facilities make sense. Here’s why:

  • Parks are established to promote healthy activities. Parks are meant to promote community wellness, and tobacco-free policies fit with this idea.

  • Secondhand smoke harms everyone. Secondhand smoke is a human carcinogen for which there is no safe level of exposure. Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate health consequences such as asthma attacks.

  • Secondhand smoke is harmful in outdoor settings. According to Repace Associates, 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 dangerous. Discarded cigarettes pollute the land and water and may be ingested by toddlers, pets, birds or fish.

  • Tobacco-free policies help change community norms. Tobacco-free policies establish the community norm that tobacco use is not an acceptable behavior for young people within the entire community.

  • Most Minnesotans support tobacco-free park and recreation policies. A 2004 University of Minnesota survey found that 70% of Minnesota residents support tobacco-free park and recreation areas. In addition, 66% of golfers and 73% of families with children support these policies.

  • Policies provide consistency among community athletic facilities and groups. The majority of community sporting events are held at either city or school district athletic facilities, and nearly all school districts prohibit tobacco use on their entire grounds. Also, many community athletic associations have tobacco-free policies but use city recreation facilities and would benefit from a city-wide policy.

  • Policies reduce litter and maintenance costs. In a 2004 survey, 58% of Minnesota park directors in cities with policies reported cleaner park areas.

  • Tobacco-free policies help break the connection between tobacco and sports.  For years the tobacco industry has sponsored sporting events and advertised at recreational events, misguiding young people’s perception of tobacco use.  Research indicates that sporting events expose youth to extensive tobacco use by people they view as positive role models.
  • Tobacco-free environments promote positive community role modeling and protect the health, safety, and welfare of community members.

TFYR's Model Policies

Click on the links below to download a PDF document of the policies.

Park & Recreation Areas

Youth Recreational Organizations

Outdoor Events

County Fairgrounds

Rodeo Grounds