Reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke where community members live, work and play.
The leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States is smoking and tobacco use. In 2011, just over 20% of adults and 15% of 9-12 graders reported that they were smokers. Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke harms almost every organ in the body and can lead to several health risks including lung and other cancers, heart disease, strokes and more. Exposure to these toxins places children at the higher risk for developing ear infections, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and allergies. Find out more about the health effects of smoking.
Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)
Tobacco-Free Living Goal: Reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and associated unhealthy air contaminants in outdoor recreational environments and multi-unit housing environments.
The Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax has been working to increase access to smoke-free parks and outdoor recreational environments. Additionally, the Partnership has plans to work with property managers of multi-unit housing neighborhoods to increase the number of voluntarily implemented smoke-free policies. To find out more about Fairfax's Tobacco-Free Living objectives and key actions, read the Live Healthy Fairfax Community Health Improvement Plan (pages 22-23).
See our progress detailed in the latest CHIP annual evaluation report.
What's Happening in the Community?
- The stats: More than 15 million people visit Fairfax County Park Authority amenities for recreational, athletic and social activities each year. In 2012, an estimated 840,000 children played on playgrounds and more than 1 million people used athletic fields maintained by the Park Authority.
- The vision: Parks should be clean and safe outdoor environments for children and their families to visit and enjoy.
- The results: The Partnership and the Fairfax community have worked to improve the health of its residents by reducing or preventing secondhand smoke exposure at park amenities:
- In May 2014, the Park Authority Board adopted a significant tobacco-free policy for our community – the designation of all park playgrounds, athletic fields and skate parks as "Tobacco Free Play Zones."
- In September 2014, the Fairfax County School Board also adopted the same policy for school playgrounds and athletic fields.
- In January 2016, the Park Authority Board adopted the expansion of tobacco-free play zones to include tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, as well as amphitheaters and marinas. Additional expansion zones are underway.
These actions encourage the healthier use of more than 1,500 public playgrounds, athletic fields and skate parks in Fairfax while discouraging tobacco-use within our community. The Reston Association has also significantly contributed to these efforts by adopting smoke-free policies, posting their own smoke-free signs on and around its 55 miles of trails and pathways and more than 1,350 acres of open space.
Northern Virginia Tobacco Control Coordinator
In September 2015, a regional Tobacco Control Coordinator was hired to assist in the tobacco control efforts in the five Northern Virginia counties. The coordinator is part of the Tobacco Use Control Project Team out of the Virginia Department of Health. The coordinator works with the local health departments, community organizations, and hospitals to improve the health of Virginians by reducing the amount of people who use tobacco through education and policy efforts, including promotion of the free Virginia Quitline (1-800-Quit Now) resource in the community to assist those looking to quit using tobacco for good.
To join the Tobacco-Free Living Priority Issue Team, email us or call us at 703-246-8856, TTY 711.