The Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas is applauding Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore for approving the City Parks and Recreation Commission's recommendations that the city have a no-smoking policy in city parks and golf courses.
That is, people will be asked not to use tobacco. There is no ordinance to make the policy law. I'm guessing we'll still find plenty of butts along the Medical Mile and elsewhere. Still, some might observe signs announcing the policy, which takes effect in October.
Starting in October Little Rock Parks and golf courses will become healthier and cleaner. That’s when a smokefree/tobacco free policy adopted by the Little Rock Parks Commission goes into effect. Patrons will then be asked not to use tobacco products on parks lands.
Advocates say City Manager Bruce Moore took a giant pro-health step by approving the commission’s recommendations. This puts Little Rock in an elite group of cities banning tobacco in all outdoor public places. The smokefree parks initiative started in California a decade ago and is now spreading rapidly across the country. More than 600 U.S. cities and counties have initiated tobacco free parks.
This caps a 20 month drive by the Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas [CTFA] and other health advocates along with a progressive and open minded parks commission. Special recognition goes to community advocate, Joe Arnold who was relentless in pursuing tobacco free parks.
“It’s great working with Joe on an issue that will help the city’s parks and golf courses become the healthy places they are supposed to be” said Katherine Donald, CTFA Executive Director. “
Advocates say the smoke-free status will strengthen the pro-health image of parks. “These are places where we play hard, exercise or just enjoy nature. Tobacco and tobacco litter just don’t belong here”, Donald said. “”It saddens me to see the Medical Mile on the Arkansas River Trail strewn with cigarette butts. What does this say?” she added.
During its public hearings on the issue the commission wrestled on whether to enact a policy or recommend an ordinance which would but also requires a city council vote. The commission decided on the policy option feeling it could be done more quickly and would be the best groundwork for future, stronger measures,