Chesterfield County, VA. – Chesterfield County’s parks and outdoor recreational areas are officially tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free. The County’s Parks and Recreation Department recently made the decision to fully establish its parklands as 100% tobacco-free by prohibiting tobacco use within 50 feet of sporting events, spectators, or gatherings in outside parks.
The commitment was initiated by Y Street, Virginia’s largest youth-led movement and a program of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. Y Street members strive to make sure Virginians have equitable access to clean and healthier outdoor environments through its campaign, Share The Air. Share The Air aims to create 100% tobacco-free parklands by encouraging local park and recreation departments and government officials to adopt comprehensive tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies.
Y Street member and local student, Haley Flores, from James River High School met with the Parks and Recreation Department to discuss its existing park rules surrounding tobacco use and how they can provide an even greater outdoor experience for its residents by going 100% tobacco-free and vapor-free. When asked why the campaign is important to her Haley replied, “the Share The Air campaign is very important because of my family’s health issues. It is important to me that my sister and mother are able to go outside without worrying about having an asthmatic attack. I believe that through the Share The Air campaign change will be possible and really benefit the community.” Haley’s presentation resonated with the department, and as a county that strives to create dedicated spaces that provide residents with a space to be active, relax, and gather outdoors, the department recommitted to going tobacco-free by signing a commitment form with support from its Advisory Committee.
The impact of the policy is expected to reduce tobacco and vape litter and residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke and promote positive role modeling for youth who visit the county’s parks and outdoor recreational areas. Chesterfield County joins the growing list of Share The Air’s partners, becoming its 9th partner, and localities with tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies.
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.