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Powhatan County, VA. – Powhatan County Parks and Recreation decided to recommit to establishing its parklands as tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free by reinforcing its existing parks rules that prohibit tobacco use within their properties. 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.

Last fall, Y Street members met with a member of the Board of Supervisors and the Deputy County Administrator to discuss how the county can enhance its community parks and outdoor recreational areas by strengthening its existing tobacco-free policy and partnering with Share The Air, which both expressed full support for. Soon after, Y Street members presented to the Commission on January 10, 2023. When asked why the campaign is important to them, Y Street member and student from Powhatan High School, Bre Gillespie, replied, “The Share The Air campaign is important to me because my family and I love to be outside. When the air is clean from tobacco and e-cigarette smoke we can have fun to the fullest. Through the Share The Air campaign it will make the outdoors better for more people.” Y Street’s presentation resonated with the Commission. As a county that strives to create dedicated spaces that provide residents with a space to be active, relax, and gather outdoors, in March, the department recommitted to going tobacco-free by signing a commitment form solidifying its partnership with the campaign.

Powhatan County joins the growing list of Share The Air’s partners, becoming its 12th partner, and localities with tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies. “We are thrilled to partner with Share The Air to further enrich and preserve the quality of life for all who reside in Powhatan County. We pride ourselves on making Powhatan a fun place to live, work and play. This partnership will also enhance our ability to have visitors view Powhatan as an excellent place to play,” Megan Heatwole, the Director of Parks and Recreation shared. Powhatan County will receive free tobacco-free signage as part of its partnership with Share The Air to post as a reminder to park visitors.

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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.

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Hanover County, VA. – Hanover County’s parks and outdoor recreational areas are officially tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission recently made the decision to prohibit tobacco use at all playgrounds, trails, ballfields, and active use areas. The new policy is the first of its kind for Hanover County as they previously did not have an existing policy on the use of tobacco products in outdoor spaces.

The decision 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.

Last fall, Y Street members met with the Parks and Recreation’s Park Director to discuss how the county can enhance its community parks and outdoor recreational areas and provide an even greater outdoor experience for its residents by going 100% tobacco-free and vapor-free which the director expressed full support for. In the months following, Y Street members presented to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission at its meeting on March 27, 2023.  Hanover County strives to create dedicated spaces that provide residents with a space to be active, relax, and gather outdoors and for this reason, the board signed a commitment form to adopt a tobacco-free outdoor policy and partner with Share The Air.

The impact of the new 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. Hanover County joins the growing list of Share The Air’s partners, becoming its 13th partner, and localities with tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies. When asked about Hanover’s decision to partner with Share

The Air, Hanover County’s Parks and Recreation Director, Aaron Reidmiller, replied, “Hanover County Parks and Recreation is dedicated to providing healthy spaces that allow our community to enjoy a variety of recreational pursuits. Through our participation in the Share The Air program, we have established a new policy prohibiting the use of tobacco products in and around our most heavily used park amenities. This new policy will improve the overall visitor experience, promote healthy lifestyle choices, and decrease litter in our parks.”

Hanover County will free receive tobacco-free signage as part of its partnership with Share The Air to post as a reminder to park 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.

Press Releases

Powhatan County Public Schools is Setting a Healthy Example to Increase Students’ Water Consumption

Powhatan County, VA – Powhatan County Public Schools has made important updates to its School Wellness Policy to ensure that students have increased access to water throughout the school day. This change will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the health and well-being of students throughout the division and their overall academic success, with 4,295 […]

READ MORE
Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation & Events Are Officially 100% Tobacco-Free

Fredericksburg, VA. – Fredericksburg Parks, Recreation & Events decided to commit to making its parklands 100% tobacco-free and vapor-free to provide a clean, healthy, and safe environment for all to enjoy. The policy change was initiated by Y Street, a program of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) and Virginia’s largest youth-led movement. VFHY […]

READ MORE
Chesterfield County Public Schools is Setting a Healthy Example to Increase Students’ Water Consumption

Chesterfield County, VA – Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) has made important updates to its School Wellness Policy to ensure that students have increased access to water throughout the school day. This change will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the health and well-being of students throughout the division and their overall academic success, with […]

READ MORE
McReynolds Sports Complex Goes 100% Tobacco-Free 

York County, VA. – York County has taken a step towards promoting a healthier outdoor environment by implementing a new tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free policy for the McReynolds Athletic Complex in Yorktown, VA. The facility boasts 13 athletic fields, 2 playgrounds, and a multi-purpose path perfect for walking and jogging to name a few, an ideal […]

READ MORE
Martinsville City Council Votes for 100% Tobacco-Free Parks

Martinsville, VA. – The city of Martinsville recently decided to commit to making its parklands and park facilities 100% tobacco-free and vapor-free to provide a clean, healthy, and safe environment for all to enjoy. The policy change was initiated by Y Street, a program of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) and Virginia’s largest […]

READ MORE
Brunswick County Public Schools is Setting a Healthy Example to Increase Students’ Water Consumption

Brunswick County, VA – Brunswick County Public Schools has made important updates to its School Wellness Policy to ensure that students have increased access to water throughout the school day. This change will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the health and well-being of students throughout the division and their overall academic success, with 1,451 […]

READ MORE