«A guide to learning about & promoting tobacco-free parks, playgrounds, and recreational fields in your community Welcome to the Operation ...»
1. Bring a camera. Taking photos of your clean-up is a great way to show the media and policy makers how big a problem tobacco use in your parks & recreation fields really is.
2. Make sure EVERYONE is wearing gloves. Tobacco litter can be hazardous so protect your group by wearing gloves.
3. Have someone count the number of adults you see using tobacco/smoking and the number of youth you see using tobacco/smoking during the clean-up time.
4. Give each person (or team) a 1 gallon plastic zippered bag to collect litter in. Remind them that they are looking for tobacco-related litter ONLY. This includes cigarettes/filters, cigarette packaging, spit tobacco packaging, and other tobacco products.
5. Ask them to keep a count of EACH ITEM they place in the bag and write the number AND location on the outside of the bag with a permanent maker when they are done.
6. Set a TIME LIMIT on the clean-up. It should only take about 30 minutes to get the data you need.
7. There should be one or two people who collect all the filled bags and record the data on the “Tobacco Litter Collection Data” sheet. The filled bags should be placed in a large trash bag and sealed once everything is collected. Keep this bag as evidence and to show your decision makers.
8. Make sure EVERYONE washes their hands with soap and water when it is all done.
9. When presenting your litter, be prepared to talk about where your group picked up the litter (the specific park or recreation field), how long the clean-up lasted, how many pieces of litter were collected, and where the park litter was mostly found.
We’ve provided the following items for your Tobacco Litter Collection Event:
• 3 data collection forms (in the plastic cover). Make sure each team counts the number of items they collect. Assign someone to count the # of adults using tobacco and the # of youth using tobacco. Log it on the data report form.
• 10 rubber gloves for those picking up tobacco litter • 3 one-gallon zip lock bags (1 for each team or 1 for each park) • 30 Butt-out stickers. The youth can wear them and/or hand them out to park patrons to educate them about their event.
• Bring a digital camera – assign a youth to take pictures of your coalition collecting the tobacco litter.
• You may want to provide your own trash bag for all the zip locks to be stored in. The litter can get smelly. Keep track of all the litter you collect!
The Great Butt Out Clean-up Contest Your coalition can announce a campaign and competition to inform and challenge local middle school and/or high school students to think about the unhealthy effects of cigarette butt litter and to do something about it. The Great Butt Out will give students a chance to make a difference in their community by collecting cigarette litter - the number one form of litter in the U.S. - and compete with other schools for citywide recognition. Promote this event in school papers and school announcements. Finally, have your coalition educate the community about the contest by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. We’ve provided a template for that. It is so important to get some press!
• Limit this contest to 3 middle OR high schools (we have limited supplies)
• Your coalition will chose the two to three days in October or November to hold the contest – let the competing schools know the exact days they can pick up their tobacco litter.
• Give each competing school a Tobacco Litter Collection event kit (the gloves, plastic bags, trash bags, and data reporting form). Your adult sponsor will have to arrange with the schools for pick-up of the Litter kits.
• Once the contest day has ended, your adult sponsor will collect the litter trash bags and supplies from each school.
• Collected litter is weighed and the top school is determined.
For your coalition to decide… How you will recognize the winner. Would the mayor be willing to recognize them?
Can you get the local paper or other media to run a story?
Save all the collected litter and data – you’ll need this when your coalition eventually goes to a decision maker to propose the policy. Perhaps the competing schools will want to continue working with you on this policy. Keep them in the loop! The more people on your team, the better!
Letter to the Editor Template Letters to the editor are a great way to write in the local newspaper about your group, your goals, and why tobacco-free parks are important. Check with your newspaper’s rules for content and length.
• Be short and to the point (150 words or less)
• Be clear that you want tobacco-free parks in your community
• What activity did you do in the community and why?
• Sign the letter and include an address and phone number.
• Be TIMELY – send the letter on the same day or soon after your activity.
Our city parks were created as a healthy place for us to experience natural beauty and engage in healthy activities. We’d like to see our parks become healthier by making them tobacco free. The 2006 Surgeon General’s report on secondhand smoke concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. A tobacco-free policy for would protect all residents from secondhand smoke.
On [DATE], local youth from [YOUR ORGANIZATION]’s Get R!EAL coalition collected [number] pounds of tobacco litter from [LOCATION] to raise awareness. Cigarettes are the most littered item in the U.S. and take 5-10 years to decompose. Infants and children often ingest discarded cigarettes which can cause nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
We all deserve the right to breathe clean air especially in our community parks and playgrounds.
Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] [YOUR SCHOOL] Get R!EAL Coalition
[YOUR ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER]Creating Ideas for your Policy So! You’ve gathered some amazing evidence of your community problem. Your coalition has taken photographs, collected community surveys, and had a tobacco litter collection event. Now it is time to think more about what you could do to solve the problem.
Please write down the reasons you want this policy:
List all the SPECIFIC locations you would want to be included in your policy (you already made a list in the very beginning during the assessment). Be really thorough
and go for as much as you can:
How will you help to promote this policy (make sure it is followed)? Get R!EAL can help provide park signs. You can educate the community, create a press release, articles in local newsletters, post on parks & recreation website, etc). Think about