Pitt Partners for Health, a local coalition aimed at improving the health of Pitt County, will recognize the Town of Ayden and the Town of Winterville for passing a Tobacco-Free Parks ordinance on March 8, 2018 at 8:30am at the Ayden Arts and Recreation Department. Ayden is the first municipality in Pitt County to pass a Tobacco-Free Parks ordinance. The Town of Winterville joined the effort to promote healthier parks in January, making them the second park in Pitt County to pass a Tobacco-Free Parks ordinance.
Pitt County Health Director, Dr. John Morrow, will present each town with a certificate in recognition of the positive steps they are taking to improve the health of their community. Elected officials from the Town of Ayden and the Town of Winterville will be in attendance to show support for this accomplishment for each town. Sally Herndon, Branch Head of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch at the North Carolina Division of Public Health, will speak on the importance and evolution of tobacco prevention strategies across the State.
While there is no legal right to smoke, the public does have a legal right to clean air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure are the leading preventable causes of illness and premature death in the nation. Children learn by modeling adult behavior and benefit by having positive role models and from positive reinforcement of healthy lifestyles. According to the Air and Waste Management Association, cigarette and tobacco litter is the number one item littered in our parks and creates a health and safety hazard to small children and wildlife, and distracts from the natural beauty of the environment.
Pitt County Health Director, Dr. John Morrow states that “there is simply no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a greater risk of developing respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks. There is also a direct correlation between secondhand smoke and chronic diseases among adults. Tobacco-free parks eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke levels in these community outdoor places.”
For more information about tobacco-free living in North Carolina, visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services Chronic Disease and Injury Branch website at: http://www.tobaccopreventionandcontrol.ncdhhs.gov.