The City of Blue Springs is working with the Jackson County Health Department to increase awareness for tobacco free living.

Signs are being put up in the playgrounds and parks of Blue Springs to discourage smoking in areas where kids and families are at play. Residents are encouraged to comply with this initiative to create a healthier environment for kids and to promote a tobacco free lifestyle.

A tobacco free lifestyle means refraining from the use of cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products. Decreasing tobacco use not only impacts the health of the individual, but it also will improve the health of their neighbors, co-workers, and families.

Secondhand smoke can be just as dangerous as actually inhaling smoke from a cigarette. This is especially true for children who are still growing and developing physically. Children also have faster breathing rates than most adults, meaning they will inhale more smoke and be exposed to a greater amount of toxins than an adult would in a given period of time.

Children who are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke are at a greater risk for developing asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections.

All children need a safe healthy place to play outside, and playgrounds provide an excellent opportunity for this. However, if parents and other adults are smoking around playgrounds, children will breathe in this smoke while they are playing.

The Blue Springs City Council has recently approved an ordinance that bans smoking in city parks except in paved parking lots. This is a great step toward providing a smoke-free environment that all Blue Springs residents can come out and enjoy.

The City of Blue Springs and the Jackson County Health Department are currently installing the signs asking adults not to smoke around playground areas in local parks. Look for these signs the next time you visit one of the playgrounds at a Blue Springs park with your children.

Remember "Healthy Lungs are at Play!" and please refrain from smoking.