On August 21, 2018, the Ontario City Council unanimously approved a Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Parks Ordinance, which took effect yesterday. In order to preserve public health, safety and maintain a family-friendly atmosphere in our City parks, the ordinance eliminates the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in public parks.
The Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Parks effort was initiated by a group of passionate Ontario teens, that are part of the City’s Teen Action Committee (TAC). These teens volunteered their time to research and document concerns related to the use of tobacco in the City’s parks.
“I am extremely proud to live and be part of a community, where our young people are taking charge of the future, and doing their part to make Ontario a better place for all us,” said Mayor Paul Leon.
With the help of City staff, the City Attorney and the Ontario Police Department, TAC teens drafted a proposed ordinance that restricts the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes in the City’s parks. They then presented their findings to the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Planning Commission and ultimately, to the City Council.
The effort began in November 2017, when TAC teens collected almost 2,300 cigarette butts from four local parks. The cigarette butts show the impact these tobacco products have on the environment and overall park atmosphere. TAC teens also surveyed 202 adults and 98 children at Ontario community centers to obtain feedback on smoking and tobacco in our parks.
Their efforts and passion for change won City Council support and has led to a successful policy aimed at improving health, the environment and overall quality-of-life for the Ontario community. The Ontario City Council commended the effort and encouraged the teens to attend future City Council meetings and provide updates on their Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Parks Campaign.