The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas says the board of the Little Rock Zoo will vote again Monday on a proposal defeated previously to make the zoo smoke-free.
It notes Riverfest will be smoke free this year and says the policy will be enforced. Good for people; good for animals.
Apart from the debate about sidestream smoke, the zoo change would end the ready invitation to littering animal enclosures with cigarette butts.
The Little Rock Zoo Board of Directors is expected to consider a smoke free policy for the facility at its meeting Monday, May 10, at 4 p.m. at the zoo. The board came to a three to four vote when the issue was taken up at its April meeting. The Board is seeking public input and admission is free for the meet.
“It’s almost an irony that a zoo, something designed to attract children, would allow smoking given what we know about second hand smoke” said tobacco control advocate Joe Arnold of Little Rock. The 56-year-old audio engineer is a leader in the successful drive to make Little Rock parks tobacco free. He is the winner of last year’s Trailblazer Award from the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA) for his long running work in tobacco control.
“Nearly all zoos, including Nashville and Memphis, have gone tobacco free, It’s an obvious decision” said Katherine Donald, CTFA executive Director. “Little Rock is already one of the highest areas for children’s asthma and we can he;[ the health of our children by adopting good public health policies sucha s a smoke-free zoo”, she added.
“Joe is one of the jewels of the Arkansas tobacco control movement” Donald said. “He’s a tireless, smart and dedicated advocate and I have no doubt his work has saved untold thousands of lives and millions of dollars in medical costs” Donald added.
In a related matter, this month’s Riverfest will be smoke-free for the first time. Thanks, in part, to the efforts of CTFA and Arnold, the city of Little Rock adopted a tobaco-free policy for all its parks and golf courses. The policy will be enforced during Riverfest 2010.
Announcements are expected to be made from the performance stages and non compliers will be asked by city employees to either stop smoking or leave.