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Clearing the air: Parks in Granite Falls go smokeless, May 17

Mayor DeRosia to present proclamation to Snohomish Health District

SNOHOMISH COUNTY---Kids in Granite Falls will play in air made fresher by the city’s new “Tobacco-free Park Policy” effective May 17. Mayor Floyd “Butch” DeRosia will declare the city’s parks smoke-free in ceremonies beginning at 11 a.m. in Jim Holmes Park, 206 South Granite Avenue, Granite Falls. The event is free and open to the public.

Signs requesting voluntary compliance will be posted at several locations in Jim Holmes and Jack Webb parks.

“Secondhand tobacco smoke harms our children,” said Mayor DeRosia. “I’m all for protecting the health of our citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. We’re doing something good for our kids today and every day they play in our parks,” said DeRosia. In a recent survey by the state Department of Health, more than 84 percent of the people polled in Snohomish County agreed that all children should be protected from secondhand tobacco smoke.

Mayor DeRosia proposed the idea of smoke-free parks to his City Council earlier this year. Following Council’s unanimous approval, Granite Falls and Snohomish Health District worked closely together to make the proposal a reality.

“I congratulate Mayor DeRosia and the City of Granite Falls for recognizing that parks are a place to promote health in many ways,” said M. Ward Hinds, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Snohomish Health District. “Kids copy what they see adults doing—and if they see a park free of smokers, they are more likely to recognize this as the norm.”

Tobacco Free Snohomish County and Snohomish Health District will provide light refreshments, balloons and giveaways at their resource table. For more information about this event or other activities of the Tobacco Free Snohomish County Coalition, please call 425.339.5279.

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at www.snohd.org

Q&A: Secondhand Smoke and Children

What’s the problem?

In Washington state alone, 244,887 children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home (CDC, 1996 data). Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, and other lung diseases, as well as more asthma attacks and ear infections. Annual expenditures in Washington for babies' health problems caused by mothers smoking or being exposed to second hand smoke during pregnancy $21 to $62 million (Toll of tobacco in Washington; Tobacco Free Kids, 2001).

Who's at risk?

Forty-three percent of children from age 2 months to 11 years old live in a home with at least one smoker. Those children are likely to be exposed to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is linked to many illnesses, including up to 2 million ear infections in children each year. It may cause asthma, and it causes children who already have asthma to have more severe symptoms, as well as acute respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. For every eight smokers who die from smoking, one innocent bystander dies from secondhand smoke. This means in Washington, more than 1,000 non-smokers die per year from exposure to secondhand smoke.

RELATED EVENTS:

  1. World No Tobacco Day: Fri. May 31, noon-1 p.m., Logan Park, Arlington Arlington parks launch a smoke-free policy
  2. Teen Futures Media Literacy Training: Sat., June 1, Snohomish Health District auditorium, 3020 Rucker Ave, Everett ; all-day training for high school students in Snohomish County to learn tobacco prevention strategies. Call Claire Beach for info & registration: 425.673.1349
  3. Girl Scouts Against Smoking Community Fair: Sun., June 2, 2:30-4 p.m., Jennings Park, 6915 Armar Rd., Marysville; Snohomish Health District and Girl Scout troops from Marysville, Lake Stevens, Stanwood and Arlington host educational games, treats, prizes & fun! Call Debbie Kent, 425.339.8657
  4. Partnering for Clean Air Conference: Thurs., June 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Marine View Banquet Center, 404 – 14th St. Marina, Everett. Free conference for business owners to learn about the health and economic benefits of a smoke-free environment. Featured speaker is Mary Selecky, the State Secretary of Health.
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