Hamptons.com: 'Keep Your Butts Off Our Beaches' Campaign

(July 26, 2010)

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Hauppauge - The Tobacco Action Coalition of Long Island (TAC) has launched a campaign to educate Long Island residents about the benefits of tobacco free beaches. The campaign raises awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco litter, dangers of secondhand smoke and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted. TAC is part of the Tobacco Free NYS project that is promoting the establishment of more tobacco free outdoor recreational areas.

Tobacco litter is poisonous to children and wildlife. Discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter. Studies show they are toxic, slow to decompose, and costly to remove. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. Children routinely pick them up and try to place in their mouths.

Secondhand smoke contributes to and causes dozens of diseases and illnesses including asthma, heart disease, respiratory tract infections and ear infections. "It is important to remove pollutants from environments where children enjoy recreational activities. Because their lungs are so much smaller, children breathe in 50 percent more air than an adult making them more susceptible to the dangers of tobacco smoke even when outdoors," said Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York.

Public support for outdoor tobacco use restrictions is growing. "Currently outdoor tobacco use policies have been enacted in over 190 local municipalities throughout New York State," said Susan Kennedy, TAC Director. "Our latest community surveys indicate that 78 percent of Long Island residents support policies that restrict tobacco use at local parks and beaches.

TAC is offering sample policies and free signage to local municipalities and organizations to assist in creating more entryway bans and outdoor tobacco use policies. Call 631-265-3848, ext. 22 for more information, or go to www.TobaccoFreeNYS.org.