Camden County freeholders have banned smoking in all county parks, including Timber Creek Park in Gloucester Township.
The county is following up with signs and messaging to make sure no one smokes in the park’s playgrounds.
“With the documented danger of secondhand smoke, it becomes a public health issue to have people smoking in the parks, especially in areas like the playgrounds, where children congregate,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, who is liaison to the county Parks Department.
The American Cancer Society has supported the freeholders' initiative to end smoking in county parks.
“Smoke-free parks need to and should be the new standard for healthy living,” American Cancer Society Regional Vice President Jessica Backofen said in a statement issued by the county. “There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, not even outdoors. It is a killer."
Backofen, who spoke along with Nash at a July 19 press conference at a county park in Berlin, noted that 3,400 people die of lung cancer as a direct result of secondhand smoke each year.
Keeping children away from known carcinogens is part of Camden County government’s emphasis on protecting the environment as a quality of life issue.
“It is all about having respect for ourselves and for others and keeping the air we breathe as clean as possible,” Nash said.