SALISBURY — After a long push from local health organizations, the Rowan County Commissioners voted Monday to make parks tobacco-free.

The new regulation bans traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping devices and other uses of tobacco in all county parks, recreation buildings and recreation grounds.

Previously, smoking was prohibited only in designated areas or “any part of any park when it is deemed the fire hazard makes such action advisable.”

Alyssa Smith, executive director of Healthy Rowan, said the regulation change was a “true collaborative effort through Healthy Rowan’s partners … to put health first for our community.”

She said the Rowan County Health Department and Novant Health Rowan Medical Center were particularly valuable partners in the effort.

Smith said the regulation is intended to promote a healthy environment, free from unwanted smoke and vapor.

Smoking, she said, is a health, safety and environmental hazard that needs to be banned to protect employees and visitors from the harmful effects of smoke.

“We sincerely appreciate the Rowan County Parks and Recreation Board and the County Commissioners for promoting our parks as a healthy place for everyone to enjoy,” she said. “This policy will empower those who do not want to breathe in second-hand smoke. It will also protect children who are there to enjoy the great parks Rowan County has to offer from those long-term negative impacts.”

Under the new regulation, signage will be installed at entrances to parks and other locations. Anyone found in violation may be asked to leave park premises.

View the Salisbury Post article.

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