The board of the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association (TWNA) supports the unanimous recommendation of the Lakewood’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to ban tobacco products and electronic cigarettes on park property.
With arguably the most pristine park in the city within its neighborhood geographic boundaries of Tillicum, the TWNA board further appreciates and expects that its elected representatives will give due diligence to that end.
Consider the following:
- All parks within the jurisdictions of Puyallup (2005), Gig Harbor (2007), Tacoma (2009), and Peninsula Metropolitan Parks District (2012) went tobacco-free, a combined 20 years of enforcement history, now with Pierce County likely to follow, according to Brynn Grimley reporting this past January 19 in the Tacoma News Tribune.
- Grimley likewise stated that “roughly 1,000 people in Pierce County die each year from tobacco-related diseases, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.”
- Number four (of eight) on the Council’s Priority list is to “improve the quality of life” of all Lakewood residents. Take the one-minute, forty-five second video tour of Lakewood available on the city’s website and the first words extoll the city’s reputation as being one of the nation’s best 100 places for young people.
- An article in the Tacoma News Tribune, May 6, 2008 (A4), was headlined, “Bans seem to discourage kids from picking up habit.” The habit referenced was smoking and the article described what happened when teens witnessed “a community sending the message frowning upon (tobacco) use.” An excerpt: “Youths who lived in towns with strict bans were 40 percent less likely to become regular smokers than those in communities with no bans or weak ones.”
- Smoking, according to the surgeon general, is responsible for 480,000 premature deaths a year; and – for the babies that are born – vision loss, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function, and cleft palates are found in children of pregnant women who smoke; plus bladder cancer, cervical cancer and on and on all attributable to tobacco as reported just this past January 20 by Richard Cohen, opinion writer for “The Washington Post.”
- Though City Attorney Heidi Ann Wachter has opined that federal law must first legally ‘free the weed’ before Lakewood storefronts can open their doors, given the latest from President Obama, recreational marijuana could likewise find its way into our public parks. “The Washington Times” Joseph Curl, quoted Obama as saying “that the legalization trend (in Washington and Colorado) should spread, ‘because it’s important for a society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.’”
It is our TWNA board understanding that the Lakewood City Council has rejected Parks Director Mary Dodsworth’s recommendation banning tobacco and instead has asked the park advisory board “for a new proposal that finds compromise between banning tobacco and allowing its use in designated areas,” with a possible decision by the council at its Feb. 18 meeting.
The TWNA Board however agrees with Terry R. Reid, co-chair of the Tobacco-free Alliance of Pierce County and the more than three-of-every-four (85% of over 200) Pierce County residents surveyed at last summer’s community events – including Lakewood’s Summerfest – that together we want our local parks to be tobacco-free: consistent with the Lakewood City Council’s self-mandated priority to ensure quality of life for all residents.
On behalf of the board of the Tillicum Woodbrook Neighborhood Association,
David Anderson, president