Support Healthy Kids & Clean Air at PG Pool

Support Healthy Kids & Clean Air at PG Pool

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Ayelet Hines started this petition to Prince George's Pool Board of Directors

Today, 53 pool members submitted a resolution in support of a no-smoking policy at Prince George’s Pool. I hope you'll add your name and member number, and commit to attending the member meeting on the last Saturday of August to voice your support. 

Given the overwhelming scientific evidence that has been well-established in peer reviewed journals for decades, I look forward to the board taking this public health measure that would be in step with other measures the board has taken, like the rigorous lightning and no-glass policies, and the installation of water filters and solar panels. 

I'm grateful for the members of the pool, many of whom have served on the board over the years, who kept the doors open long before my arrival. I am equally grateful for those members who have pushed to expand access for those who were left out by segregation, championed health and safety, and taken measures to be good stewards of the earth. Scientific evidence and changing social norms implore us to move forward, even when it may be uncomfortable, and especially when our predecessors took stands that were not in the best interest of the community. 

The arguments I've heard over the years against adopting a no-smoking policy are not evidence-based and are insufficient to maintain the status quo. Tobacco products pose a significantly greater risk to public health than campfires or grills. While the burning of any organic matter generates carcinogens, I'm not concerned about normalizing campfires or grilling for the children in our midst because those children might start grilling 10 or 20 times a day. Numerous studies have found that when children are exposed to adults who smoke they are more likely to view smoking as acceptable behavior and take up smoking too.[1] We bring our children to PG Pool with the promise that it's a safe place with safe people who are engaging in safe behaviors. I don't want to normalize smoking for any child. Smoking is a pediatric disease. Ninety percent of adult smokers begin while in their teens, or earlier; and two-thirds become regular, daily smokers before they reach the age of 19.[2]

One of the reasons people love PG Pool is the personal freedoms we enjoy there. But why am I not free to bring glass containers or stand in the grass in a thunderstorm? Because those would pose public health risks. So it is with smoking. The pool has a policy that prohibits music played on a personal device at a volume that disturbs people nearby. Personally, I don’t love hearing people’s music around the grounds, but that’s just my personal preference, not a public health concern. Why is there a policy about something as trivial as music but no policy about something as serious as tobacco use?

Electronic nicotine delivery systems may be a better choice for current smokers than combustible tobacco products, but if watching vaping normalizes vaping for smokers, then it's reasonable to assume it might also normalize vaping for non-smokers.[3,4] The levels of some metals, such as nickel and chromium, in second-hand aerosols from electronic nicotine delivery systems are not only higher than background air, but also higher than second-hand smoke.[5,6] If all smoke and vapor vanished into the air, my children and I wouldn't smell it around us. 

I look forward to the entire pool membership engaging in conversations that lead to a cleaner, healthier atmosphere for everyone. 

Respectfully yours,

Ayelet Hines

1. Albers AB, Siegel M, Cheng DM, Biener L, Rigotti NA. Relation between local restaurant smoking regulations and attitudes towards the prevalence and social acceptability of smoking: a study of youths and adults who eat out predominantly at restaurants in their town. Tob Control. 2004;13(4):347–355. doi:10.1136/tc.2003.007336] 

2. SAMHSA. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2014. ICPSR36361-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-03-22.; See also, HHS, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, A Report of the Surgeon General, 2012. HHS, Youth and Tobacco: Preventing Tobacco Use among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General, 1994, (pg 49).

3. Research suggests that children may mistake vaping for smoking. [

4. Faletau J, Glover M, Nosa V, Pienaar F. Looks like smoking, is it smoking?: children’s perceptions of cigarette-like nicotine delivery systems, smoking and cessation. Harm Reduct J. 2013 11 18;10(1):30. pmid: 24238406

5. Hess IM, Lachireddy K, Capon A. A systematic review of the health risks from passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour. Public Health Res Pract. 2016 04 15;26(2):e2621617. pmid: 27734060

6. Electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS). Geneva: World Health Organization; 2016. Available from:

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