Tobacco-Free Outdoor Areas
Prohibiting tobacco use in outdoor areas such as parks, playgrounds, beaches, entryways, and outdoor eating areas provides benefits on several fronts. First and foremost, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and exposure to secondhand smoke is a danger even in outdoor areas. Recent studies have shown that secondhand smoke outdoors can reach concentrations found in indoor areas where smoking is permitted, particularly in places where multiple smokers congregate, such as near building entryways and outdoor eating areas.
Restricting or prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas also limits cigarette butt litter. This protects children from ingesting cigarette butts, maintains the attractiveness of the area, reduces clean-up costs, and prevents pollution of the environment.
Finally, prohibiting tobacco use in outdoor areas helps to reduce the social acceptability of tobacco use (“denormalization”). Denormalization of tobacco use helps to reduce youth smoking initiation and helps current tobacco users to quit.