As Central Floridians we enjoy warm and welcoming weather and engaging in outdoor recreational activities all year round. We are also fortunate to have many natural environments such as beaches, lakes, athletic fields, playgrounds, trails, city parks and other outdoor areas. Unfortunately very often these environments are polluted by cigarette butts and other remnants of cigarettes. These remnants require additional maintenance expenses, diminish the beauty of the cities’ recreational facilities, and pose a risk to toddlers due to ingestion. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent annually picking up litter.
In 2008 the American Association of Poison Control Centers received over 7000 nationwide reports of potentially toxic exposures to tobacco products among children younger than six years of age in the U.S. In most cases poisoning resulted from ingestion of cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
Ten milligrams of nicotine is a lethal dose in children. One to two milligrams is considered toxic. Cigarettes contain 9 to 30 milligrams of nicotine and butts contain 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams. Therefore, ingestion of just one cigarette butt could be toxic to children and ingestion of just one cigarette could be lethal.
Residents of Orange County have the ability to improve the health of our residents and our community by creating tobacco-free parks and outdoor recreational areas where children can play and grow in a healthier manner. Second-hand smoke, even in open areas, can be damaging for both children and adults. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Currently, smoking in parks and outdoor facilities is not permitted it is just not enforced. Therefore, members of the community may protect their environment and the health our residents with the adoption of tobacco free policies in parks and recreational areas.