Westmoreland County, VA (January 27, 2022) – As we all enter the new year, Virginians across the state often develop resolutions to help improve their health as well as the health of their communities. The locality of Colonial Beach made this resolution and was proactive in achieving it early in 2022. Director of the Colonial Beach Parks and Recreation Department, Robert Duke, took time at the start of the year to meet with King George High School freshman and Y Street member Vivian Wright to discuss the importance of establishing and sustaining tobacco-free and e-cigarette free parklands.
Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s (VFHY) statewide volunteer initiative for high school students. Y Street members like Vivian strive to make sure Virginians have equitable access to clean and healthy spaces so they are active and able to enjoy the outdoors and do this by promoting the Share The Air campaign. Share The Air aims to create 100% tobacco-free parklands and public spaces by urging parks and recreation directors and other local government officials to adopt tobacco-free outdoor policies. “I am so happy Colonial Beach now has tobacco-free parkland spaces,” Vivian stated. “As a resident of Virginia, I feel it is my responsibility to help make sure it stays beautiful. Partnering with Share The Air helps ensure my siblings and I grow up in a beautiful and healthy environment without worrying about the effects of second-hand smoke or litter.”
Research has demonstrated that a strong majority of Virginians (89%) agree that parklands should be tobacco-free and vapor-free. Colonial Beach is proud to give the citizens and patrons of the locality’s public spaces what they want. Duke and Colonial Beach Mayor Robin Shick signed a commitment form to have their parklands go tobacco-free. Duke noted “It is important for us to have a smoke-free atmosphere at our parks and green spaces. We are thrilled to be partnering with Y Street and their Share The Air campaign.”
Colonial Beach joins King George County, the town of Shenandoah, and the town of Stanley as leaders in promoting clean and healthy parklands. VFHY Executive Director Marty Kilgore thanks Y Street members like Vivian for their continued advocacy and commends Colonial Beach for their dedication. “VFHY is proud to see youth advocacy like Vivian’s lead to healthier communities. This decision by the Colonial Beach Parks and Recreation Department is a testament to their dedication to providing safe parklands and public spaces for all visitors.”
About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY)
Established in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by reducing and preventing youth tobacco and nicotine use, substance use, and childhood obesity.
VFHY takes a comprehensive approach to prevention work that includes reaching about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, day cares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaigns deliver prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children annually. In addition, VFHY’s research program provides scientific insight on methods to effectively reduce tobacco use. Since 2002, VFHY has funded 40 large research projects at universities throughout Virginia. For more information, visit www.vfhy.org.