Philadelphia, April 29, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity Dr. Donald Schwarz and Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources Michael DiBerardinis, signed an Executive Order extending smoke-free regulations to all City parks.
Under this order, smoking is prohibited in more than 100 Philadelphia neighborhood parks and watershed parks, totaling more than 11,000 acres of public space. This policy goes into effect immediately.
“Eliminating smoking in public parks is a commonsense policy that clearly aligns with our City’s existing smoke-free regulations for recreation centers, pools and playgrounds. Specifically, this policy protects the environment and the health and wellness of our citizens,” said Mayor Nutter. “I want to thank Dr. Schwarz and Deputy Mayor DiBerardinis for their leadership on this issue, for their commitment to the public’s health and for their dedication to keeping our parks clean and safe for all citizens.”
The policy will be enforced by parks’ staff. In addition, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Health will support enforcement efforts through community education with a public awareness campaign, which includes the “No butts about it” media campaign.
“Philadelphia’s parks, recreation and green spaces benefit our lives in many ways, such as improved water quality, connected communities and cleaner air,” said Deputy Mayor DiBerardinis. “This initiative will help to increase those public benefits and invite more people to these important spaces. This collaborative effort is an important step to helping us maintain a unified parks and recreation system which is safe, clean and ready to use for all Philadelphians.”
Philadelphia joins other large cities, like New York City, Los Angles and Atlanta, in prohibiting smoking in public parks. Smoke-free parks is an extension of the Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Act, which prohibited smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, and a 2011 Executive Order that made recreation centers, pools and playgrounds smoke-free.
“Smoke-free policies protect children and families from the harms of secondhand smoke,” added Dr. Schwarz. “They also provide smokers with additional motivation to quit.”
Lauren Bornfriend, Executive Director, Philadelphia Parks Alliance, concluded, “Parks are vital natural resources. This policy will keep them clean, healthy and safe.”
For more information on quitting smoking, visit www.smokefreephilly.org. To learn more about how to receive free counseling and up to eight weeks of free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges, call 1-800-QUIT NOW.