- Associated Press - Monday, July 24, 2017

KEENE, N.H. (AP) - Smokers will no longer be able to light up in parks and ballfields in nine New Hampshire towns.

The towns of Harrisville, Keene, Marlborough, Swanzey, Nelson, Rindge, Troy, Walpole and Winchester are working with the Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities to create smoke-free policies for the towns’ recreation areas and signage to reflect the new policies. The towns of Marlborough, Nelson, and Swanzey have taken it a step further and have barred smoking on all town property.

In adopting these policies, the communities agree that tobacco use in recreational areas is detrimental to the health of everyone using the outdoor spaces. According to the coalition, research shows that prohibiting smoking in public places decreases the chances that children will use tobacco products.

“Our goal is to demonstrate to youth that tobacco use is not a part of a healthy lifestyle, and we believe that tobacco-free policies can play a part in reducing youth tobacco use in our communities, which will eventually save lives,” said Jane Skantze, a tobacco specialist with the coalition.

Along with the signs warning of the new measures, the towns have committed to notifying their employees about the ban. Staff also will periodically check recreation areas for compliance. Anyone caught lighting up will be ejected from a recreational area for the remainder of an event.

“We would welcome other communities in the Monadnock Region to join the effort,” Skantze said.

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