MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida families can breathe a little easier at Miami-Dade County Parks thanks to a new policy that bans smoking at more than 40 parks and near all playgrounds and youth ball fields.

The new policy ensures a healthy environment for people participating in sports and other recreational activities within a park setting where they are not exposed to toxic secondhand smoke.

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The no-smoking policy was already in affect around playing fields but the new policy extends the ban beyond ball fields and includes tobacco-free zones at all community parks where children participate in the Department’s Fit-to-Play after-school program and at all playgrounds in all County parks.

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“In addition to reducing second-hand smoke exposure, tobacco-free policies encourage young people to make healthy choices,” said Jack Kardys, Director of Miami-Dade Parks. “The more tobacco-free environments a community provides, the fewer opportunities for youth to start using tobacco.”

There are also environmental benefits for instituting a tobacco-free policy. Litter caused by discarded cigarette butts diminish the beauty of park facilities and cause additional maintenance expenses. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable.

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Tobacco-free parks include: African Heritage, Arcola, Arcola Lakes, Bird Lakes, Cinco de Mayo Park, Colonial Drive, Continental, Country Village, Deerwood, Devon Aire, Eureka, Eureka Villas, Goulds, Gwen Cherry (YET), Hammocks, Highland Oaks, Jefferson Reaves, Kendale Lakes, Leisure Lakes Park, Little River, Martin Luther King, McMillian, Miller’s Pond, Modello, Naranja Park, Norman & Jean Reach, North Glade, North Trail, Oak Grove, Ojus, Olinda, Ron Ehmann, Ruben Dario, Sgt. Delancy, Soar, South Dade, Southridge, Tropical Estates, West Little River, West Perrine, Westwind Lakes, and Wildlime.