Mayor Michael A. Nutter, accompanied by Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity Donald F. Schwarz and Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources Michael DiBerardinis, signed an executive order to make the more than 200 city owned recreation centers, playgrounds, and pools 100% smoke-free, including all outdoor spaces.
This announcement comes days before the celebration of World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. The Executive Order will reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, give smokers another reason to quit, and decrease the likelihood that children see adults smoking.
“We’re making this change so that recreation spaces can be healthier, safer, and cleaner for the tens of thousands of kids and adults who learn, play, and gather here every year and for all of the city’s recreation center staff,” said Mayor Nutter. “The Philadelphia Smoking Ban prevents citizens from receiving second hand smoke in many of our city’s businesses. Now, we are protecting the citizens in our recreation centers.”
Dr. Schwarz added, “The examples that we set for our children have profound effects on their physical and psychological development. We must send kids a consistent message that smoking is unsafe, un-cool, and un-powerful. Smoking leads to nearly 2,500 deaths per year in Philadelphia. This is more deaths than those caused by homicide, HIV, diabetes, kidney failure, and stroke combined.”
The Executive order and a related Parks and Recreation regulation will take effect in July 2011. Approximately 1,000 signs will be posted in recreation spaces notifying visitors and staff about the new smoke-free policy. Thousands of wallet-sized cards with information about the policy and resources for help with quitting will also be distributed.
“We will need everyone’s help to make this a success,” Deputy Mayor DiBerardinis said. “Staff members, coaches, parents, civic leaders, and even kids will need to speak up. If you see someone smoking, let them know that there is a new policy that makes all rec center property smoke-free. Don’t assume they know about the new policy. Point to a nearby sign or hand them a wallet card. Then, politely ask them to put out their cigarette. Through a combined effort, I believe we can make this policy work.”
A telephone line will also be made available to receive reports of smoking violations and requests for educational sessions to help staff, coaches, parents, and even kids better understand the new policy. The Departments of Public Health and Parks and Recreation will also make additional free quit-smoking classes available at recreation centers throughout the city. This is on top of free classes held throughout the year in other community setting. For help with quitting, Philadelphians can visit www.smokefreephilly.org or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.