Keep smoking out of city’s outdoor spaces

I want to express my support for removing exemptions from the Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act and making Durango’s parks, playgrounds, patios and trails tobacco-free.

Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights tracks all the smoke-free laws in the country, and one of the fastest growing policies protecting public health is that of eliminating the harm of secondhand smoke in one or more outdoor areas. There are 2,215 states, commonwealths, territories, cities and counties with laws that restrict smoking in one or more outdoor areas, including 1,573 that restrict smoking in public outdoor places such as parks and playgrounds.

Scientific research on outdoor exposure to secondhand smoke has grown in recent years, and our Durango City Council has a unique opportunity to “clear the air” of secondhand smoke in workplaces, playgrounds and places where the public congregates.

Patio dining areas are outdoor workplaces where nonsmokers and smokers are in close proximity, and it is not easy to move away from smoke when working in these areas or patronizing these businesses. The employees who often have to work in the smoke-free indoor areas of the establishment and the patios cannot escape secondhand smoke when working their outdoor tables.

Trash created by cigarette butts tossed on the ground is a significant environmental problem. Cigarette butts are a leading source of pollution in parks, and Durango can easily eliminate this pollution problem by prohibiting smoking in parks and playgrounds.

Fire danger is also a compelling environmental and safety reason why smoking should not be allowed in parks or trails. Our parks and trails are beautiful. During a drought or severe fire-danger year such as this one, any protection we can give to reduce the fire danger is a wise option.

I urge you, as responsible, caring residents of our community, to support a tobacco-free policy for our city’s parks, playgrounds, patios and trails. Take time to discuss this important issue with city councilors. Urge them to vote in favor of our future by protecting the health and beauty of our community.

Char Day

Durango