Tobacco Free Parks in Lake County

By Walter Valdez and Dominic Griego

Is Tobacco Use a problem in or community, or not?

We created a survey and our results were very interesting. We did this as part of our summer internship at Lake County Build A Generation in Leadville, Colorado.

How it started…

dom and walter photosWe wanted to see if tobacco was a problem at our parks. We went to multiple parks around the county where many parents take their children to have some fun in the sun. Our first step was meeting with officials of Lake County and the City of Leadville. We learned tobacco use at parks in Lake County is a big concern.

LCBAG looked at the current rules at one of our parks. They state that drug, alcohol, and tobacco products and smoking are prohibited. We also learned that the parks are owned by the county but they are in city limits so, some confusion was brought to who creates the regulations for the parks. We also found out that the police can give fines and tickets to underage violators dealing with tobacco, drug, and alcohol use but not to the people who are old enough to possess these items.

During the meeting a weather shelter was proposed to be placed at the same park, LCBAG asked community members if they thought it would encourage drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. We found that Youth were the most concerned with the shelter as they thought it would encourage drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. Another concern was how enforcement would be handled.

To maintain a healthy and safe place to be at, we asked what community members thought would be more effective. Our choices were; Fines/ticketing, signs, Public education, and police patrol. We found that community members thought Fines and ticketing would be the best option to enforce these rules. Next it was problem in our parkssigns, then public education, and the one that the community said would not enforce the rules was police patrol around the park.

We also asked the community where they think tobacco free places should be elsewhere. From our survey, community members feel that playgrounds, the community field, picnic areas, and the skate board park should be tobacco free. A majority of them also said that Campgrounds and Rodeo Grounds should be the less restrictive on tobacco use. After our meeting with City officials, and Lake County, we can see that tobacco is being looked at more, especially at our parks. We do see some concerns with tobacco use, but our hope in the future is that these concerns will reduce and that the parks in Lake County will be even more of safer and healthier place to be at.

About us…

Walter: I am currently a Lake County Build a Generation Intern in Leadville Colorado. I am an upcoming Senior. I am really involved at my school. I have been in Student Council four six years and the past two years I have been President of my class and I plan to run for Student body President of my school. I am excited to also say that I am Vice President of the National Honor Society and plan to have a great last year of high school.

Dominic: I am also currently an intern at Lake County Build a Generation in Leadville Colorado. I am an upcoming Junior at Lake County High School. This internship is not the first time I have been involved with Lake County Build a Generation. This past year I participated in a tobacco retail survey to find information on retail and location of tobacco retail in Lake County. After the year ended I decided that continuing with Lake County Build a Generation would be the best job because I had worked with them before and could easily pick up where I left off.

To read more visit the Lake County Build A Generation website and look under reports.


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