LIVE OAK — Tobacco Free Suwannee and Tobacco Free Lafayette are encouraging local sports leagues and programs to establish tobacco free policies as part of an effort to protect youth from tobacco initiation and exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tobacco free sports and recreation programs set a clear example for children: tobacco use and addiction is not normal and and not welcome here, a release states.

While Florida’s cigarette smoking rate is down, many rural counties have higher smoking rates than the rest of the state.

Tobacco free environments provide fewer opportunities for youth to start smoking. Youth who see adults using tobacco in public places, like parks or recreation areas, are more likely to see smoking as socially acceptable, the release states. Many nonsmokers — especially children — who are exposed to outdoor tobacco smoke suffer symptoms including ear infections, nausea breathing difficulties and asthma attacks.

Tobacco Free Suwannee and Tobacco Free Lafayette work with many community organizations to create a tobacco free environment for community residents.

For more information about how to support Tobacco Free Suwannee and Tobacco Free Lafayette’s efforts to make local sports leagues tobacco free, contact them at 386-362-2272.

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