By Tessa Willie |
The next time you think about using tobacco of any kind on the city trails in Calmar, resist! The Calmar City Council voted in favor of the health of Calmar citizens by making all city trails tobacco-free. Effective January 5, 2015, no person will be allowed to use any form of tobacco on trails under this new policy. The Calmar City Council, South Winneshiek SODA (Students Opposed to Drugs and Alcohol), Winneshiek County ERASE Coalition, and Helping Services for Northeast Iowa support this policy.
Why the policy?
Calmar Council members adopted this policy because they believe that tobacco use on the trail is detrimental to the health of everyone using the trail system. Promoting a tobacco-free trail system enhances the quality of the trails by eliminating tobacco waste and creating an overall healthy environment for residents and visitors. They also feel the tobacco-free policy provides the opportunity to change community norms around tobacco use. This will help to reduce youth tobacco use, which is much needed because each year 2,600 Iowa kids (under 18) become daily smokers (tobaccofreekids.org).
Helping Services assisted the community of Calmar in the policy development and will be working with city officials to communicate the new tobacco policy, including providing tobacco-free signs free of charge. As Helping Services Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, I hopes to see other communities follow this trend. I congratulate the City of Calmar for being the first community in Northeast Iowa to adopt a tobacco-free trails policy. I hope other communities will consider implementing a similar policy, and I commend Calmar’s efforts to support clean air and ensure all residents are protected from secondhand smoke.
Every effort by local policy makers and citizens to establish more tobacco-free spaces benefits the current and future health of Delaware County residence. Through these efforts the culture can change, children may never even try tobacco, and we will live in a 100% tobacco-free community.
If you would like assistance in setting up a tobacco-free policy for you community or business, contact Tessa. Since this article was posted, many other cities have taken steps to make their area tobacco-free. While not every city in the area has adopted this specific approach, many are making changes to extend tobacco-free policies in their public places. Currently, Manchester Park and Rec has a policy in place that covers sections of Manchester parks including; tobacco-free shelters (25 feet out from the shelters) and the entire facilities of the Aquatic Center & Sports Complex.