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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Arkansas Tech UniversitySTUDENT INFORMATION


Name: Kelli Dunegan
ATU Email Address: kdunegan@atu.edu
Student T#: T01142367
Employer: Arkansas Department of Health
Current Position: Hometown Health Improvement Coordinator

SITE INFORMATION
Organization Name: Tobacco Free Jonesboro
Address (City, State, Zip): n/a
Telephone: 870-761-7978

STAKEHOLDER INFORMATION
Date of Final Presentation to Stakeholder: March 3, 2017
Stakeholders Name: Sherry Chamblee
Position/Responsibility: Project Reviewer and Advisor
Email Address: sherry.chamblee@arkansas.gov
Strategy for Meeting with Stakeholders: Bi-weekly Face-to-Face Meetings

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

n/aTABLE OF CONTENTS

Background......................................................................................................................................4

Purpose of Project............................................................................................................................5

Problem Identified ..........................................................................................................................6

Research Methods and Procedures .................................................................................................7

Analysis and Findings......................................................................................................................7

Recommended Action Plan.............................................................................................................9

References......................................................................................................................................13

Appendix A....................................................................................................................................15

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Background

Tobacco Free Jonesboro is a comprised of members from various agencies in Jonesboro.

Their mission is to assist Jonesboro city officials and other community groups in their efforts to

create a tobacco-free environment where they can promote and model tobacco-free lifestyles.

This is accomplished by helping community park systems to adopt tobacco-free policies to

promote community wellness (TFYR).

Parks and outdoor public spaces act as a refuge for many to engage in physical activity

and to work on their health. Many times the outdoor public space is the only area that

community members may have to enjoy nature and have a safe place to get fresh air. Public

outdoor spaces need to be clean and accessible for all community members and free from

secondhand smoke that is a health hazard to all. Tobacco free environments protect the health

and safety of the citizens, especially children.

Tobacco use is the single most avoidable death in the world. Smoking kills more people

than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined. Thousands of

people die each year from tobacco-related causes each year such as exposure to secondhand

smoke, fires caused by smoking devices, and smokeless tobacco use (Campaign). No amount of

exposure to secondhand smoke is safe.

In 2006, the United States Surgeon General determined that secondhand smoke exposure

causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke; that children

exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute

respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma; that smoking by parents causes

respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children; and that scientific evidence

indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke (Campaign).

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Cigarette butts are the most littered item, and are costly for municipalities and property owners to

clean up. Small children, pets, birds, and fish are at high risk for ingesting this litter and causing

illness and even death. In 2008, American Poison Control Centers received over 7,000 reports of

children under the age of 6 being poisoned by contact with tobacco products (Bronstein et al.,

2009).

Purpose of Project

Children who see adults using tobacco especially in a family friendly place may associate

tobacco use as acceptable behavior. Tobacco-free policies change the social norms and

encourage young people to make healthier choices. In Arkansas, 68,000 youth age 17 and under

who are alive today are projected to die as adults from a smoking related illness or disease. If we

do nothing, thats more than 954 school buses of children disappearing (Secondhand

Smoke/Stamp Out Smoking, n.d.).

Tobacco related medical costs in Arkansas are $1.2 Billion annually, which is 24% of the

state general revenue budget. More than 53,000 people die in the U.S. every year from exposure

to secondhand smoke more than 500 adults a year in Arkansas alone. Secondhand smoke can

cause lung cancer in those who have never smoked. Even brief exposure can damage cells in

ways that set the cancer process in motion. For each cigarette smoked, a nonsmoker inhales as

much benzene as someone who has smoked six cigarettes; as much 4-aminobiphenyl as one who

has smoked 17 cigarettes; as much N-nitrosodimethylamine as one who has smoked 75 cigarettes

(Secondhand Smoke/Stamp Out Smoking, n.d.).

Tobacco-free policies support a message that tobacco is unsafe and non-users have a right

to be protected. By removing tobacco-use from public places, children are less likely to see it as

a social norm and it will help deter them from tobacco use in the future. Common sense tells us

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

that tobacco is harmful and has no place in an area that is intended to promote healthy lifestyles.

Laws against drinking in public and leash laws for pets are already in place to protect and

promote a safe environment. Tobacco-free policies will only enhance the safe and healthy

environment.

A single cigarette filter can take 5-10 years to decompose. In the meantime, it is leaching

toxins into the soil and water systems. Discarded cigarette butts on the ground are an ugly

eyesore to beautification projects and cause an increase to park maintenance costs. Discarded lit

cigarettes are also a leading cause for preventable outdoor fires.

By conducting surveys and community assessments, the perception can be assessed and

determined if a tobacco-free policy can be implemented. The assessment can also determine if a

policy is more effective or if an ordinance should be put into place county-wide.

Problem Identified

In response to complaints and concerns expressed to Jonesboro City Hall regarding the

city-owned cemetery adjacent to St. Bernards Hospital from community members regarding to

smoking and cigarette litter at the cemetery, a committee was formed to focus on the issue. A

report on maintenance hours at the cemetery was also reviewed that revealed 12 hours extra per

month being spent on litter removal in the cemetery.

Between 1959 and 2010, lung cancer risk for smokers rose dramatically. Among female

smokers, risk increased tenfold and among male smokers, risk doubled. These increases

occurred even though smokers in 2000 through 2010 smoked fewer cigarettes a day than earlier

smokers. Smoking risks are more deadly now than 50 years ago so it is imperative to deter

smoking at all costs (50 Years of Progress. 2015).

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

If tobacco use is not eliminated, health care costs will continue to sky rocket and many

preventable deaths will occur. Non-smokers will continue to be violated by secondhand smoke

causing life-threatening illnesses. Asthma and other lung related disorders will continue to

plague innocent children (Seffrin, 2006).

Research Methods and Procedures

Surveying park and city owned property users to determine their thoughts on a tobacco-

free policy for city parks and city owned property. This will help build a level of support, but

also may help identify individuals that could be champions for the policy. The survey (see

Appendix A) can also measure the amount of education needed in the community regarding the

importance of anti-tobacco policies.

City Officials and leaders will be surveyed to determine their level of support. This will

also help identify leaders that might need additional education on the subject. Trainings will be

put into place to raise awareness on the importance of tobacco free park policies. The survey can

also indicate if the request should be a policy or an ordinance.

Analysis and Findings

The overall purpose of this study is to create a safe and healthy environment and

influence an environmental change and educate on issued related to tobacco. A healthy

environment is key to providing a foundation for the long term investment may be community

members while a making a statement for global responsibility. Appendix A was created to assess

the prevalence of tobacco use, as well as the factors promoting and impeding tobacco use among

community members.

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Forty-five surveys were conducted through in-person conversations and emails.

Thirty-seven surveys were completed and returned (an 82% response). All thirty-seven returned

surveys were included in this analysis. You will see that a majority (84%) were strongly in favor

of a No Tobacco Use policy.

30.00

25.00

20.00

15.00

10.00

5.00

0.00
1 1.98 2.68 3.89 4.58 5.94

35.00

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25.00

20.00

15.00

10.00

5.00

0.00
0 5 10 15 20 25

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Some of the comments were: I agree with this 100% even though. It is a nasty

habit that shouldnt be done in front of children., I like the idea but think it will be hard to

enforce; and the parks and recreation centers are supposed to support healthy living so Im

glad to see this change.

Tobacco-free environments protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the

community. A tobacco-free policy creates consistency for youth and public facilities in the

community, since most school districts prohibit tobacco use. Policies for city-owned facilities

support and promote healthy lifestyles. Discarded cigarette butts are litter, requiring

maintenance expenses, and can be ingested by toddlers, pets and wildlife (Playing Tobacco

Free,2014).

By implementing tobacco-free park policies, tobacco and its litter will be removed

from the city owned facilities, outdoor spaces, and cemeteries. Park directors will oversee the

enforcement but will rely on police officers, too. Other cities with similar policies report that

with proper signage most park users comply without any incident. Signage has been secured by

a community grant from a local hospital to cover all facilities in the city.

Recommended Action Plan

To lay the groundwork for the proposed tobacco-free policy, the community must be

educated about secondhand smoke. Initially, the health issues will be addressed to build

adequate community support. Policymakers will be educated on the potential cost saving aspects

of tobacco-free policies, as well as, the evidence that tobacco-free policies produce healthier

environments. Local stakeholders and community partners will be encouraged to start a media

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

campaign with a variety of tobacco control issues as the message. Materials and support will be

gained through Center for Disease Control in Georgia.

The mayor of Jonesboro will be contacted to be the lead sponsor of this policy to show

credibility and expertise to influence other policymakers. As the lead official, the results of the

local survey will be shared showing how the community supports this endeavor. Statistics and

evidence-based programs will be shown depicting how tobacco use is harmful and a danger to

society. A draft policy will be submitted to officials to be reviewed by to ensure the policy meets

all the criteria of the citys legal team. Support will be offered to help educate any policymaker

or other local government official that the mayor deems necessary. A plan will be developed to

implement and execute the policy when it becomes active.

After the policy passes, all persons who supported the policy effort will be congratulated

publically. The plan to execute the implementation will be followed and routine assessment of

the implementation process will be reviewed. Signage will be posted at all city owned parks and

properties that will notify visitors that tobacco use is illegal on the city owned properties.

Signage will be funded by a grant from Stamp Out Smoking that committee members will apply

for after the policy has been signed.

Awareness events for the tobacco-free parks will be planned throughout the community

over the next several months. The first kick-off event will be Tobacco Free For Me. It will be a

city wide community effort of groups picking up cigarettes butts as the first effort of cleaning up

the parks and making them cigarette litter free. Other specialized events will be planned such as:

Strike Out Tobacco will be held on opening day of baseball for the Jonesboro American Legion;

Kick Butts Day will be planned for soccer games; and trees will be planted on Earth Day with a

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

message that one tree equals 300 cigarettes. These events will help remind visitors that the parks

are tobacco-free and also offer education and assistance for cessation.

Once the policy is implemented, law enforcement will now have legal obligation to

enforce it. The ideal situation is for citizens and other park users to challenge tobacco user to

obey the law. The majority of the time this wont be an issue because when the policy violator is

confronted, they usually will comply. If the violator will not become compliant, then law

enforcement can be called to fine the violator and/or remove them from the property. According

to Texans Standing Tall, studies of smokers struggles to quit and to stay quit reveal that

many smokers see enactment of smoke-free laws as the motivation and support they need to do

something theyve known they should do and wanted to do for a long time. So some smokers

may actually welcome smoke-free rules and want to comply with them (Conway, 2017).

There many advantages of making parks and other recreational areas tobacco-free.

Tobacco-free parks and areas provide families and children with a healthy environment to

support healthy lifestyles. The grounds will be prettier and safer without the tobacco litter which

is poisonous to children and animals. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the entire

country. Americans discard an estimated 175 million pounds of cigarette butts every year.

Allowing tobacco use in parks and in other recreation areas where youth and families with young

children gather sends a dangerous, mixed message about healthy living. Tobacco use is not a

behavior that should be modeled for the children in our communities. Research shows that

tobacco-free parks policies can reduce and even prevent tobacco use among kids

(MDHHS, 2015).

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

This assessment of creating tobacco-free parks in Jonesboro has been a very powerful

and rewarding project. The information and data obtained can be used for future policies in other

communities in Northeast Arkansas, as well as, the whole state. Assisting a community to make

social changes that will impact the future generations is a humbling endeavor that should be

repeated in as many communities as possible.

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

References

50 Years of Progress. (2015, July). Retrieved January 28, 2017, from

https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/consumer-guide.pdf

Bronstein, A.,Spyker, D., Cantilena, L., Green, J., Rumack,B., & Griffin S. (2009, February).

Annual Report. Retrieved February 9, 2017 from

http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/Portals/0/2008annualreport.pdf

Campaign for Tobacco-FreeKids. (n.d.). Retrieived January 28, 2017, from

https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/facts_issues/toll_use

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017 from

https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/press_releases/post/2012_03_08_sg

Conway, K. (2017, January). Texas Standing Tall. Retrieved February 9, 2017, from

http://texansstandingtall.org

Get the Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2017, from http://www.stampoutsmoking.com/get-

the-facts/

MDHHS Why Parks and Beaches Should Be Tobacco-Free. (2015, July), Retrieved February

9, 2017, from http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-71550_2955_2973-

340373--,00.html

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Playing Tobacco Free, (2014, March). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from

http://www.publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/tobacco-control/smoke-free-tobacco-free-

places/outdoors

Secondhand Smoke/ Stamp Out Smoking. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from

http://www.stampoutsmoking.com/get-the-facts/secondhand-smoke/

Seffrin, J. (2006, July). Enforcing Strong Smoke-Free Laws. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from

http://texanstandingtall.org/pdfs/advocatesGuide4.pdf

TFYR/What is Tobacco-Free Youth Recreation? (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2017 from

http://www.tobaccofreeparks.org

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Running head: City of Jonesboro Tobacco Free Policy

Appendix A

Tobacco Policy Survey

What is your gender? Male _____ Female _____ Other _____

What is your age? Under age 18 _____ Over 18 _____

Do you reside in Jonesboro? Yes _____ No _____

How often do you visit a __________________________________ park?


At least once a week _____ At least once a month _____ At least once a year _____

Does it bother you when people smoke in recreational areas? Yes _____ No _____

Does it bother you to see cigarette litter in recreational areas? Yes _____ No _____

Do you favor or oppose a tobacco-free policy at parks in Jonesboro?


Strongly favor _____ Somewhat favor _____ Somewhat oppose _____
Strongly oppose _____ Dont care _____ Dont know_____

How strongly do you agree that kids act the way they see older teenagers and adults acting?
Strongly agree _____ Somewhat agree _____ Somewhat disagree _____
Strongly disagree _____ Dont know _____

Do you think keeping youth from starting to use tobacco products is important?
Yes _____ No _____

Would you support a policy for parks in (insert name of town) to be tobacco free?
Yes _____ No _____

Do you think there would be a lot of opposition to a policy making all parks in Jonesboro
tobacco-free? Yes _____ No _____

When was the last time you used a tobacco product, including cigarettes, chew, snuff, cigars,
etc.?
Never _____ In the last week _____ In the last year _____
In the last five years _____ Longer than five years ago _____

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