Tobacco Free Parks and Recreation

Tobacco-free park signs are being installed in Oklahoma City parks! To learn more, please see our OKC Parks section.

Addressing Policy Myths: The Truth Behind Tobacco-Free Recreation

  • Myth #1

    Kids that see adults using tobacco products are not likely to start using tobacco.

    Reality
    Thousands of teenagers start smoking every day, in part because they see their adult role models using tobacco or allowing its use in public places. How do children learn to walk? To talk? To play sports? From adults! Adult habits DO affect our youth.

  • Myth #2

    Cigarette butts discarded on the ground do not really hurt anything.

    Reality
    Cigarette butts are not biodegradable, meaning they do not decay and cannot be absorbed by the environment. In fact, cigarette butts remain intact for about 10 years before breaking apart, which amounts to tons of litter. Also, toddlers may ingest the butts that are discarded on the ground.

  • Myth #3

    Policies that restrict tobacco use at outdoor recreational facilities will restrict tobacco users from these facilities and events.

    Reality
    Tobacco-free policies for outdoor recreational facilities and events do not restrict people from using these facilities or attending these events; rather, they only ensure that tobacco users refrain from using tobacco for a short period of time in order to protect the health of community members, and especially children, who are using these facilities.

  • Myth #4

    Recreation-based tobacco-free policies are needless regulations and a governmental interference.

    Reality
    Tobacco-free policies are public park policies similar to those prohibiting alcohol or littering in public parks and recreational facilities. It is the duty of policy makers to enact policies that protect the health and well-being of the citizens of their community.

  • Myth #5

    Tobacco-free policies for recreational facilities will be impossible to enforce.

    Reality
    About 3 out of 4 Oklahomans do not smoke. Therefore, tobacco-free policies are largely self-enforcing and can be properly enforced with a combination of adequate signage and community education about the policy. Any infraction can be reported and handled in the same manner as an alcohol or litter complaint that may occur at these facilities.