Friday, September 25, 2009

Parks: Should they be smoke-free?

That is the question that New York City is asking right now. According to a New York Times article earlier this month, the city's health commissioner is seeking to eliminate smoking outdoors in parks and beaches. While Wisconsin seriously lags behind its efforts to protect people from indoor secondhand smoke, we do have one municipality that has moved forward in creating smoke-free parks, namely Verona. While smoke-free parks and beaches have some issue when it comes to enforcement, the public health impact is unclear.

California is a leader in the are of smoke-free parks and beaches and Chicago has also made some steps towards protecting people from secondhand smoke in recreational areas.
As with any new change in regulation criticism comes with a heavy hand. Here at SmokeFree Wisconsin we know that secondhand smoke is dangerous that there is no level of safe exposure, not even at a park or beach.


Anonymous said...

Studies are showing that outdoor smoking is much healthier than smoking indoors. Heart attack rates have fallen between 7 and 43 percent according to different studies in areas that ban indoor smoking. Banning outdoor smoking would drive smokers to hide out of sight indoors, resulting in more unhealthy smoking.

Alan S said...

There is a good deal of misinformation in this article. The glaring one is that “there is no safe level of second had smoke’. It really has no meaning in the real world. It’s a lot like saying there is no safe food to eat, since all foods have some amount of toxins in them. Does that mean we shouldn’t eat any food? Obviously a silly idea. You have to compare it to something and do some analysis as to if it has any meaning.

There are no scientific studies that show second hand smoke in an outdoor environment has any ill effects on human health. Any toxins in the air would be so small and diluted as to be insignificant. The idea of banning smoking in outdoor areas has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with a more fanatical view on smoking. It appears to be a vindictive campaign to demonize smoking and smokers rather then a rational science based approach.

Erich said...

Re: Alan S.
The scientific evidence is clear according to the Surgeon General's Report, a brief version is available here: