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‘Finally safe:' New statewide law forbids smoking within or around playgrounds

March 08, 2002|By MARIO RENTERIA

Staff Writer

Imperial Valley youths will benefit from a new statewide tobacco control law that prohibits smoking within or around a playground.

Imperial County Health Programs Coordinator Terri Shiffer said the new law, which became effective Jan. 1, "finally makes playgrounds and tot lots safe recreational havens where children and their families are not exposed to the harmful toxins of cigarettes."

"We have at last found a way to protect our youngsters by banning smoking on or near playgrounds, as well as prohibiting the disposal of cigar and cigarette butts in these areas," she said.

According to the Health and Safety Code 104495 (AB 188) smoking is prohibited within a playground or tot lot sandbox area.


This bill prohibits any person from disposing any cigarette, cigarette butts, cigar butts or any other tobacco-related waste within these areas.

A playground is defined as a park or recreational area specifically designed for use by children that has play equipment installed. This includes facilities on public or private school grounds or on city, county or state park grounds.

A tot lot sandbox area is a play area within a public park intended for use by children under age 5.

This bill prohibits any person from intimidating, threatening any reprisal or effecting any reprisal, for the purpose of retaliating against another person who seeks to attain compliance with the provisions of this section.

This bill specifies that it does not apply to private property.

"This new law addresses many serious public health issues," said Shiffer.

"Exposure to cigarette smoke is especially dangerous for children because it increases the occurrences of coughs, ear infections and colds. Youngsters exposed to cigarette smoke also have much higher rates of contracting lung diseases," she added.

Shiffer added "no smoking" signs will be posted in playgrounds and tot lots throughout Imperial County with the assistance of local governments and park and recreation departments, promoting the new law and reinforcing that children's health is being protected.

For more information about the California Health and Safety Code 104495 and other tobacco laws contact Shiffer at 482-4908.

>> Staff Writer Mario Renteria can be reached at 337-3441.

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