Kent County Health Connect aims to establish city parks in neighborhoods as tobacco free through the installation of signage and/or adoption of city-wide policy to protect children from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
There are currently 19 recreation areas (a combination of City Parks, Grand Rapids Public School playgrounds, and community recreation areas) that have been designated as tobacco-free through the installation of signage.
Click on a park below to find convenient walking routes that include these tobacco-free parks!
Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Brookside Elementary
- Buchanan Elementary
- Burton Elementary
- Campus Elemetnary
- Cesar Chavez Elementary
- Congress Elementary
- Dickinson Elementary
- Gerald R. Ford
- GR Discovery Center
- MLK Leadership Academy
- Southwest Community Campus
Community Recreation Area
- Cook Arts Center
- Cook Library Center
Are you in support of tobacco-free parks? If so, let us know here!
Find a park near you!
Click here for more information on our tobacco-free living efforts and partners.
There are several advantages to making parks and recreational areas tobacco-free.
Advantage #1: Healthy environments for healthy living. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems, and ear infections and also worsens asthma. Children, older adults, people with special health needs, and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the health risks caused by secondhand smoke exposure, even in outdoor environments. Tobacco-free parks provide families healthy environments in which they are not exposed to the health harms of secondhand smoke.
Advantage #2: No cigarette butts or other tobacco litter. Cigarette and spit tobacco litter is poisonous to children and wildlife. Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the entire country. Americans discard an estimated 175 million pounds of cigarette butts every year. Studies show that cigarette butts are toxic, slow to decompose, and costly to clean up. Cigarette butts can cause digestive blockages if eaten, and they have been found in the stomachs of animals like fish and birds. Children routinely pick cigarette butts up and place them in their mouths — putting them at risk for nicotine poisoning. Butts that are not fully put out also pose a fire and burn risk.
Advantage #3: Walking the talk. Michigan has a growing number of tobacco-free parks and even beaches. Each demonstrates a healthy, tobacco-free community norm, especially for our youth. Allowing tobacco use in parks, on beaches, and in other recreation areas where youth and families with young children gather sends a dangerous, mixed message about healthy living. Tobacco use is not a behavior that we want to model for the children in our communities. Research shows that tobacco-free parks policies can reduce — and even prevent — tobacco use among kids.
Adapted from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-71550_2955_2973-340373--,00.html