Tobacco prevention official will add signage to public parks

By 
Brendan Heidner
Sunday, January 12, 2020
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Signs similar to this one will be placed in Glendive’s public parks.

The legal tobacco buying age is now 21 and sale of flavored e-cigarette vape is temporarily banned and no one seems to know yet what that means, but Dawson County health officials are making one thing certain as they push for tobacco free parks in Glendive.

As a deliverable for the Dawson County Health Department’s 2019-2020 fiscal year, Tobacco Use Prevention Coordinator, Lindsay Sadorf presented to city council early in 2019 a proposal to put up signs in Glendive parks to render them tobacco free. She also presented the proposal to the Ordinance Committee on Dec. 23 and again to full city council on Tuesday.

“I have a big concern about the vaping that is going around in Glendive,” Sadorf said. “It is very prevalent and the high school students use a lot of those products.”

Sadorf has received many items confiscated from students at the high school and some she found herself throughout the city parks that she brought before the council. While Sadorf has numerous exhibits in her possession, the ever-growing in popularity Juul pods for e-cigarettes raises her the most concern.

According to Sadorf, expended Juul pods are highly dangerous as they have enough nicotine on the outside alone to cause anyone who comes in contact with one - especially infants or toddlers - to overdose.

One other concern weighing in on the matter is whether or not the city would fall liable if a park was “unclean” and an animal got sick or died from nicotine poisoning caused by the Juul pods.

The factors presented prompted Sadorf’s request for permission to move forward with the ordering and hanging of the tobacco free park signs. She added the signs will come at zero cost.

Once the signs are in place, the tobacco free aspect will be self-policed and hopefully encourage people to keep public environments a healthy and enjoyable space for anyone to use. With the signs, it gives people a little more permission and comfort to say to someone, “I’m sorry, you can’t smoke or vape here.”

Glendive is not the first city to consider the concept of tobacco free parks. Sadorf mentioned Billings and Helena have set similar ideas in place as they push for more tobacco free communities in the streets and parks.

After hearing Sadorf’s concerns and request, the council went ahead to approve the ordering and installation of the tobacco free park signs.

Signage will come at no cost to the city or health department.

Sadorf’s next step is to talk to Public Works Director, Jack Rice to figure out how many signs they need and when they will install them.

“If you go to a park and somebody is smoking or vaping or doing something that hurts your health or your child’s health, you are not likely to go back to those places,” Sadorf said. “I think it will help make Glendive a more healthy community.”

Reach Brendan Heidner at news@rangerreview.com.

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