January 17, 2013
We began our Smoke-free Playground Campaign in November 2011. We first needed to see if there was a problem. We had six groups of two go to different parks in our area and pick up cigarette butts in and around the playground areas. We met one week later, counted the butts and categorized them. That same day we all went to the biggest park to check the area a second time and we came back with more than 100 butts.
This clearly meant we did have a problem. We decided that we would put together a Smoke-free Playground Campaign presentation and take it to the county commissioners, and ask that we be allowed to put up signs around playground areas asking people not to smoke.
Each group had to do research and put together a piece of the presentation and then present it. As a group we decided the topics would include the lifecycle of a cigarette butt, to emphasize the harmful effect smoking has on our environment and animals, educate them on what chemicals are in a cigarette, and the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
After many weeks of preparing and practicing the STOP students gave their presentation to the parks and recreation board who gave their approval to present to the county commissioners. Both went very well, we did get their approval and our signs are up at five of the parks. We went back last week to check to see if the signs were making an impact and to our delight we found only two butts.
We would like to thank the county commissioners, parks and recreation board, DART for transporting all 40 youth to the presentation, Cindy Hannah and Carson City Health and Human Services for the signage, and to our community for respecting the rights of our young lungs.
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