Being a new father I have become even more aware of my surroundings. I want my son to grow up in a healthy safe environment and have the opportunity to play and be active. My hope is that the City of Milpitas will pass a smoke-free parks ordinance to protect all Milpitas residents. We all know that secondhand smoke is deadly, causing more than 49,000 deaths a year to non-smokers, and children are more susceptible to bronchitis, asthma, eye irritation, and coughing when exposed to secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General has declared that there is NO SAFE LEVEL OF EXPOSURE TO SECONDHAND SMOKE and a Stanford Research Study from 2007 showed that tobacco smoke in outdoor areas can be at comparable levels to smoke in indoor areas if the person is sitting downwind.
Cigarette litter is also an issue for our parks. I am a member of the HealthyMilpitas Campaign, and our campaign in partnership with residents and community partners, picked up over 3,000 cigarette butts at Dixon Landing Parkand Gill Memorial Park in one hour in November 2011. This is shocking! I don’t want my son being exposed to secondhand smoke while playing at a playground or in the sand box and or be in danger of picking up a piece of cigarette litter and putting it in his mouth. One of the reasons why I live in Milpitas is because it has over 25 parks and is a place where families and children can enjoy the outdoors, spend time together, and be physically active.
Smoke-Free policies do work! A litter clean-up in San Jose (the City of San Jose has a smoke-free parks ordinance) had much less litter, exactly 520 cigarette butts, which is significantly less cigarette butt litter than the Milpitas park clean-up of 3,000 cigarette butts.
There is public support! 74% of Santa Clara County residents completing a public opinion poll either online or at community events responded that they agreed that smoking not be allowed in public parks and trails. What can you do? A smoke-free parks proposal will be discussed at the next Transportation and Land Use Subcommittee meeting on March 27, 2012 at 5 p.m.
Join me in urging the city council to support this important proposal.
Francis Capili, Milpitas Resident and Member of the Healthy Milpitas Campaign. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.