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New tobacco-free city parks policy

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO-AM) - Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation and the Health Department have announced the details of a new tobacco use policy for City parks.

The new policy, which goes into effect immediately, prohibits the use of tobacco in City parks during youth activities (under age 18) and on all City playgrounds. To assist in raising awareness of the new policy, there will be signage in the parks.

“Having tobacco-free parks promotes healthy communities. Coaches, recreational leaders, and parents become tobacco-free role models, and they have the opportunity to send the message to youth that tobacco is not part of a healthy lifestyle,” stated Don Kearney, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Ninety percent of all adult smokers begin while in their teens or earlier and nearly two-thirds become regular daily smokers before they reach age 19.

Jill Franken, Health Department Director noted, “This policy change stems from our Live Well Sioux Falls strategies and the overall goal to increase tobacco-free living in our community.”

Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. It is estimated to be responsible for about one in five deaths (about 443,000) per year.