Empowering Decision-Makers to Take Action

Hi!  My name is Najor and I am a senior at Potomac High School.  I have been a member of Y Street for two years and this is my first year on the Y Street Leadership Team.  On November 23, 2020, I met with Fredericksburg’s Park Director and staff members about the Share The Air campaign that promotes 100% tobacco-free and e-cigarette free outdoor public spaces.  The purpose of the meeting was to educate them about the campaign and discuss how Share The Air can serve as a resource to support them with implementing a voluntary tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policy.

To ensure everyone’s safety, the meeting took place via Zoom.  After introductions, we discussed the campaign’s goals and objectives and the free resources we offer to Parks and Recreation Departments who adopt a voluntary tobacco-free outdoor policy.  During the meeting, the main discussion point was enforcement and whether the public will adhere to the policy if they see tobacco-free signage in the parks.  We explained that communication is key and that most people will comply if they know the policy exists.  By the end of the meeting, the Park Director was very supportive and wanted to share the campaign information with her supervisors.  She also mentioned a possible follow-up meeting with her supervisors to further discuss the importance of this effort.

One thing I took away from this experience is the hope that Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation will adopt a voluntary tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policy.  If the policy is adopted, it will create healthier outdoor recreational areas because the parks will be free of secondhand smoke and aerosol from vape products, protecting youth with asthma.  It will also help to keep the parks clean from litter since most tobacco products are likely to end up as litter. According to a National Litter Study, tobacco products are the most littered item nationwide, accounting for nearly 40%of all littered items.[1] 

Meeting with my local Parks and Recreation Department benefits the campaign because it raises awareness about the need for tobacco-free and vapor-free outdoor spaces, which is the first step in creating change locally.  To learn more about Share The Air and to support the campaign, visit sharetheairva.com and complete a message of support today.

[1] Keep America Beautiful, Inc. 2009 National Visible Litter Survey and Litter Cost Study. https://www.kab.org/sites/default/ les/News%20%26%20Info_Research_2009_NationalVisibleLitterSurveyandCostStudy_Final.pdf

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