Did you know? A new county-wide ordinance means Mecklenburg County’s Public Park System and Government Grounds are now smoke and tobacco free!
The county’s Board of County Commissioners approved with an 8-1 vote on October 21, 2014, and the ordinance officially took effect on March 18, 2015, with a kickoff at Marshall Park on 3rd Street in Charlotte.
Watch The Video Learn More About Why Mecklenburg County Officials Approved This Ordinance
Why The Smoke-Free Initiative?
The county’s advertising and marketing materials suggest the following reasons for enforcing a tobacco-free and smoke-free ordinances in public parks and government grounds:
- There are no safe (or healthy) forms of tobacco
- Second hand smoke is unsafe and unhealthy
- Tobacco is the cause of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer
- The ordinance will help prevent littering of cigarette butts and packaging
- The ordinance will help discourage young people from smoking
- The ordinance will help encourage people to quit smoking as it is not good for their health or the environment
- The county expects a decrease in health care costs related to illnesses caused by the use of tobacco
It’s Official: The Mecklenburg County Tobacco-Free Ordinance
With the enactment of the new law, the county is officially enforcing a Board of Health Rule for Smoke-Free Government Grounds and a County Ordinance for Tobacco-Free Parks for County owned parks.
According to the county’s Board of Health:
Smoke-free (applies to all government property) is defined as no smoking or combustible products such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos or pipes.
Tobacco-free (applies to all public parks and green ways) is defined as no tobacco product use including smoking products, smokeless tobacco (dip, snuff) and electronic cigarettes or vaping products.
This Smoke-Free ordinance prohibits the use of cigarettes, glass hand pipes, cigarillos, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes in the following areas:
- Mecklenburg County and Municipal Buildings in the city of Charlotte and six towns
- Any government or city owned property, including vehicles and outdoor grounds
- City and County parks, green ways and recreational areas
- With exception to: county golf courses and some regional parks
In addition to smoke-free policy, the Tobacco-Free ordinance prohibits the use of ANY tobacco products – smoking and nonsmoking, such as chew, dip, snuff in any public park area.
The ordinances apply to both employees who work in the areas as well as to the general public.
How To Speak To Someone About Smoking
This ordinance will certainly require everyone in the community to help enforce the new county-wide policy, which can undoubtedly lead to having a tough conversation with someone about smoking in prohibited areas. This video produced by Portland Community College and the Multnomah County Health Department of Oregon shows how to use the S-M-O-K-E acronym as a guide for having conversations with people to stop smoking.
The campaign’s initiative call for a “Breathe-Free” environment in parks and on government properties and is a move that will have a significant impact on the air quality as well as the cleanliness of parks and county grounds. What do you think of the smoke-free and tobacco-free ordinance?