A recent survey conducted by the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and a handful of community partner organizations shows an increased demand for smoke-free outdoor areas throughout Rhode Island. More than 900 Rhode Island residents were asked to rate how supportive they would be if different outdoor areas such as beaches, parks, playgrounds, and sports and recreational venues no longer allowed smoking. Overall, the results—including those from many smokers— favored such bans.
"Smoke-free outdoor areas would not only protect public health, but also reduce cigarette litter, decrease the risk of fire, send a positive message to kids, and create supportive environments for smokers to finally kick the habit," said Director of HEALTH Michael Fine, MD.
A number of communities have already taken steps to adopt smoke-free outdoor air policies. Last month Central Falls passed an ordinance banning smoking on school grounds, playgrounds, parks, and public events involving youth, families, and seniors. Similarly, Woonsocket recently celebrated their first smoke-free Autumnfest and Charlestown has banned smoking on their town beaches.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), governmental and nongovernmental organizations are encouraged to redouble their efforts to make environment more conducive to quitting than continuing to use tobacco. As more places become smoke-free, it's important that smokers are supported in their attempts to quit, when and if they are motivated. The American Cancer Society's 37th annual Great American Smokeout provides a great opportunity for smokers to get the help they need.
"The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good," said Susan Roberts, State Director of Government Relations and Advocacy at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "Local smokers are encouraged to call the Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit Cancer.org/smokeout for tips and tools to help you quit."
For a copy of the survey results, visit www.health.ri.gov/data/outdoorpublicsmokingopinion