|May 9, 2002
FOREST PRESERVE TO PROVIDE SHELTER
FROM THE SMOKE
ROCKFORD, IL -- The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District and I Decide, the Illinois Department of Public Health=s teen-led anti-tobacco campaign, have teamed up to encourage tobacco-free behavior in the forest preserves.
Beginning today, shelter houses in the Atwood Homestead, Hononegah and Macktown forest preserves will have signs encouraging patrons to refrain from using tobacco while enjoying the facilities. The signs read, AClean Air Community. This is a tobacco-free area.@
ASecond-hand smoke compromises the health of everyone, but just as harmful is the message adults send when they use tobacco in front of teens and children,@ said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. AWe applaud the forest preserve district=s commitment to protecting the health of its guests and hope other outdoor public facilities will follow this example.@
AThe Winnebago County Forest Preserve District has a mission to promote the health and wellness of the outdoor environment, which includes the people who enjoythese facilities,@ said Tom Kalousek , executive director of the forest preserve district. AWe=re excited about this partnership with I Decide and the health department.@
The program encourages patrons to think twice before using tobacco but does not make it illegal to smoke in the forest preserve. The inspiration for the program came from a series of meetings between forest preserve staff and Winnebago County I Decide teens that started last year.
AIt seemed strange that people could smoke anywhere in the forest preserve, without even thinking about the problems it can cause,@ said Katie Rowley, I Decide member. ATobacco creates litter and second-hand smoke.@
The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District manages 36 forest preserves for the purpose of protecting the natural beauty of Winnebago County, as well as for education and recreation. Atwood Homestead, Hononegah and Macktown forest preserves are the first locations selected to participate in this program because they contain shelter houses used most often by the public. These forest preserves offer a total of seven shelter houses that will be used in this pilot program.
The county forest preserve and I Decide will continue to work together to help educate visitors about the program. Forest preserve kiosks will explain the program, and brochures will be available at forest preserve headquarters. Information also will be available on the Winnebago County Forest Preserve Web site at www.wcfpd.org.
I Decide is a teen-led anti-tobacco campaign sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Winnebago County Health Department. The goal of I Decide is to educate teens on the health effects of tobacco use and on the tobacco companies= deceptive advertising and marketing practices. For more information on the I Decide movement, log onto www.idecide4me.com or call toll free 866-WE-DECIDE.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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