Warrenton, VA. – Warrenton parks and outdoor recreational areas are officially tobacco-free. The Town of Warrenton recently decided to promote voluntary compliance to prohibit tobacco and electronic smoking device use on all parklands, park facilities, open public spaces, and all enclosed and designated areas, including common areas, playgrounds, and shelters.
The policy change 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 ensure 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.
On September 12, Y Street members from Central High School met with the Town Council to present how the town can enhance its community parks and outdoor recreational areas and provide an even greater outdoor experience by going 100% tobacco-free and vapor-free. When asked why the campaign is important, Y Street member Ashley Coulson replied, “I support Share The Air because I admire the goal of creating 100% tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor public spaces. I’m always at the river near my home with my friends, family, and sometimes just myself. I enjoy the beauty and the serenity of the outdoors, and by supporting Share The Air, I can help preserve that beauty.” The Town of Warrenton strives to create dedicated spaces that allow residents to be active, relax, and gather outdoors. For this reason, the town council members expressed support, voting 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 town’s parks and outdoor recreational areas. The Town of Warrenton joins the growing list of localities with tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies, becoming Share The Air’s 16th partner. Kelly Koernig, Director of Parks and Recreation, said, “We are excited to partner with Share The Air to further enrich and preserve the quality of life for all who reside in and visit the Town of Warrenton. This partnership enhances our ability to provide safe and healthy places to play and recreate. We invite residents and visitors to “Experience Warrenton” through our parks and facilities.
The Town of Warrenton received free 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.