ASAC pushes for nicotine-free parks in Cedar Rapids

A red flag marks the spot where ASAC volunteers found a cigarette butt on the playground at Daniels Park in Cedar Rapids on Friday. The group estimates they found between 300 and 400 tobacco-related items around the playground and pavilion.

Members of the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) spent Friday afternoon highlighting several reasons they believe Cedar Rapids needs to have nicotine-free parks.

ASAC representatives walked around Daniels Park planting flags where they found any remnants of tobacco or nicotine products.

Many surrounding communities - including Marion, Mount Vernon, and Lisbon - do not allow tobacco products in their parks. More than 50 cities across Iowa have similar bans.

"People appreciate a cleaner park," ASAC prevention specialist Curt Wheeler said. "They appreciate not having to have their kids play on the splash pad or the playground with somebody smoking."

ASAC estimated that they found 300-400 items around the playground and pavilion on Friday - including a lighter near a swing set. The group plans to make similar stops at other Cedar Rapids parks this spring and summer.

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