The Iowa Smokefree Air Act prohibits smoking in nearly all public places and enclosed areas. However, outdoor spaces such as parks, biking trails, golf courses and recreational facilities may still allow smoking in some areas. Because only restrooms and shelter houses are regulated under the Smokefree Air Act, the City of Newton’s Park Board has chosen to implement a tobacco-free parks and trails policy in an effort to uphold the overall goal of park systems, which is to promote community wellness and healthy environments.
As of March 26, 2014, tobacco use is prohibited in all City of Newton’s parks, trails, outdoor recreational facilities, and Westwood Golf course at all times by the Newton Park Board. No person shall use any form of tobacco at/or on any City-owned or operated outdoor park, trail, or facility, which includes but is not limited to; any park, playground, athletic field and complex, shelters, restrooms, parking lot areas, and Westwood Golf Course. This tobacco-free policy incorporates all forms of tobacco including: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and any other product or item containing or resembling tobacco or tobacco products.
While it is expected that visitors will voluntarily comply with the policy, City staff will post signs and promote enforcement via community awareness measures. According to Tobacco Free Kids, more than 90% of all adults who smoke began in their teens or earlier, and more than half became regular, daily smokers before they reached the age of 19. This type of policy reinforces to youth the dangers of tobacco in hopes that they themselves will not become users.
Along with the City of Newton, the Cities of Adel, Windsor Heights, Mitchellville, Prairie City, Winterset, Van Meter, Dallas Center, and Perry have all recently implemented a tobacco-free parks policy with the assistance of the American Lung Association in Iowa. The American Lung Association is dedicated to reducing tobacco use and associated death and disease in Central Iowa. The Community Partnership serves Polk, Dallas, Warren, Madison and Jasper Counties. (www.TobaccoFreePartnership.com).
If you have any questions regarding the policy, please feel free to contact Nathan Unsworth, Administrative Park Superintendent, at (641) 792-1470.