All City of Burlington Recreation and Parks facilities will be tobacco free effective April 1

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BURLINGTON, N.C. -- All City of Burlington Recreation and Parks facilities will be tobacco free effective April 1.

“Inside the parks, on the perimeters, parking lots, sidewalks adjacent to parks, everywhere that's dealing with a park it will be no tobacco use,” said Tony Laws, the director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Burlington.

The department has started posting signs to notify people of the change.

City council approved the ordinance in January.

Members of Alamance Wellness Collaborative supported making the parks tobacco free, which includes banning cigarettes, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

“It's a real collaborative effort and then when you see something concrete like that brand-new sign, you realize this is going to make a big change for kids and families in our community. It’s wonderful,” said Kathy Colville, the Healthy Communities director at Cone Health.

When FOX8 asked people at City Park how they felt about the ordinance, some supported not smoking around children, but didn’t understand why other outdoor locations don’t allow smoking.

Health advocates says it’s important that adults are demonstrating role model behavior.

“As part of my lung cancer screening program, I talk to a lot of people who have smoked at least 30 years or more and almost all of them started when they were teenagers,” said Shawn Perkins, a thoracic nurse navigator at Cone Health Cancer Center at Alamance Regional.

There is a $50 fine for not following the rules, but Laws is not focusing on that aspect of the ordinance.

“We're not out here to write $50 citations, we're out here to help people live a healthier life,” Laws said.

The ban covers the city’s major parks, neighborhood facilities, lakes, marinas and its golf course.

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