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An assessment of smoke-free signage in gainesville public parks

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heather Platter, MS, Public Health Certificate, Help Them HOPE, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Background: States such as Florida have pre-emptive clause legislation concerning smoke-free air, which does not allow local legislatives to create city ordinances regarding smoking in outdoor venues such as public parks. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Smoke-Free Zone signage posted in park amenities (playgrounds, picnic pavilions, restrooms) would change smoking behaviors of park patrons. Signs were a suggestion to park patrons and there were no consequences for smoking.

Methods: A time-series quasi-experimental design was used where data were collected at the same time and order every week within amenities (n=10) from four parks. Cigarette butts were collected (n = 2,692) at park amenities at baseline and after the intervention was introduced. Data were collected pre and post intervention until stable trends emerged, which was established at 6 weeks.

Results: Due to not having normally distributed data, nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to test the strength of the mean differences. The analysis showed that smoking at seven out of the ten individual amenities decreased, with data being significant at p = 0.028. Grouped amenities (playgrounds, picnic pavilions, restrooms) did not experience a statistically significant change.

Conclusion: This study examines some of the first evidence of the impact of non-law enforced smoke-free zone signage in public parks using a reproducible measure. The implications of this study are important for states that have pre-emptive clause legislation concerning smoke-free air. A follow-up study is recommended to assess results over time.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate strategies for creating smoke-free public parks using signage. Identify tactics to counter state pre-emptive clause smoke-free air legislation. Identify ways to increase smoking cessation using social pressure vs. smoke-free laws.

Keyword(s): Tobacco, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed my Master's of Science and Master's Certificate of Public Health with a focus in social and behavior sciences. This was my thesis research for my M.S. degree and I was principal investigator on this research. I currently work in the international public health field and conduct research for my organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.