PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) remind all Rhode Islanders to bring the sunscreen (at least 30 SPF), but leave cigarettes at home as state parks and beaches open for the summer season this Memorial Day weekend.
The two agencies have joined forces to post signs educating the public about a voluntary smoke-free beaches and parks policy designed to reduce toxic cigarette litter and ensure a healthy smoke-free environment for all.
"There is no safe level of second-hand smoke," said Michael Fine, M.D. "We want all Rhode Islanders to understand the health impacts of second-hand smoke exposure and to do their part to help their fellow Rhode Islanders live healthy smoke-free lives."
"Cigarettes are the number-one source of litter on beaches and they take years to break down," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "They can also sicken children and wildlife that may ingest butts left in the sand. A still-smoldering cigarette butt can also cause a burn if it is stepped on with bare feet."
In addition to leaving tobacco at home, beach-goers should leave pets at home, too. No animals are allowed on any state bathing beach between April 1 and September 30, including after hours. Pet waste can pollute beaches and cause illness.
During beach season, HEALTH's Beach Monitoring Program routinely tests water quality at all state beaches. Up-to-date information about beach closings due to water quality issues, including an interactive statewide map, can be found at http://www.health.ri.gov/programs/beachmonitoring/index.php
More information about second-hand smoke and resources to help smokers quit can be found at http://www.health.ri.gov/healthrisks/tobacco/
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