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​A Historic Step Toward a Healthier Mecklenburg County

3/16/2015

Tobacco free Mecklenburg​It’s finally here! A County-wide health initiative that limits tobacco use on Mecklenburg County, City of Charlotte and town-owned property and county parks takes effect this Wednesday, March 18, 2015.

“This is a very big deal,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Mecklenburg County health director. “This kind of action shows that we’re serious, as a community, about reducing the impact of chronic disease.”

Tobacco use is the number-one cause of many chronic illnesses, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. Cutting tobacco use rates will save hundreds of lives and millions of dollars every year. Effective signage and communication are the most effective means of gaining compliance, and getting results.

Temporary, “coming soon” signs will soon be replaced with permanent statutory signage on government-owned property and at Mecklenburg County Parks, reminding visitors and residents that the government grounds are smoke-free, and park property is tobacco-free.

“Parks are outdoor health centers, and making them tobacco-free improves the health of all visitors,” said Jim Garges, County Park and Recreation director.

Marking the Day: Tobacco-Free Mecklenburg

A day this significant deserves some serious attention. Everyone is invited to the “official” Tobacco-Free Mecklenburg kick-off event slated for Marshall Park on Wednesday, March 18 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. That’s when official signage for government grounds and park property will be revealed. You can also get a first look at some non-traditional tactics to inform and educate residents about the tobacco-free and smoke-free policies. Expect a short agenda, the largest “thank you” note in town, “quit resources” tents, live music and lunch.

Several Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools will host youth events, as well as four local college campuses, and six Mecklenburg Park and Recreation centers. Mecklenburg County health educators and students worked together to produce a one-of-a-kind, interactive and social media-friendly program that ties in the next generation to this county-wide health initiative.

About the Board of Health Rule and County Ordinance:

Effective March 18, 2015 a Board of Health Rule prohibits smoking in all government-owned buildings in Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, and surrounding Mecklenburg County towns, as well as any City, County or Town vehicles, grounds, parks, greenways, or parklands. A separate County ordinance makes Mecklenburg County parks and buildings on Park property tobacco-free, with the exception of some regional parks and County-owned/run golf courses. The tobacco-free designation includes e-cigarettes, smokeless tobaccos, water pipes, etc., as well as cigarettes.

Learn more about the benefits of tobacco-free environments at www.tobaccofreemeck.org.