Parks & Trails Day NB is an annual event held on the first Saturday of June which provides an opportunity to promote healthy, active living in communities across the province while celebrating New Brunswick’s many incredible outdoor spaces. Every year, several thousand New Brunswickers take to their favourite trails, parks, paths, and waterways!

As a member of the Parks & Trails Day NB Committee, the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition (NBATC) recognizes the importance of having access to wellness supportive smoke-free outdoor spaces for New Brunswickers. Ensuring that outdoor spaces are smoke-free and enforcing a smoke-free policy during outdoor community events like Parks & Trails Day protects people, especially children, from exposure to dangerous second-hand tobacco smoke.

The NBATC’s Making My Outdoor Event Smoke-Free toolkit has been available since 2015 to event organizers who register their event on the Parks & Trails Day website, providing tips and tools on how to promote an event as smoke-free and enforce such a policy. This useful guide and its tools have been revised and relaunched in April 2019 to reflect the current smoke-free environments landscape. The legalization of cannabis in Canada, as well as the increasing popularity of vapour products, pose new challenges regarding the promotion and respect of wellness supportive tobacco and smoke-free environments. The newly revised Making My Outdoor Event Smoke-Free toolkit includes updated messaging, signs and other tools that address both smoking and vaping in public outdoor spaces.

Event organizers should take note that as per New Brunswick’s Smoke-Free Places Act, smoking and vaping (tobacco, cannabis or any substance that creates smoke and second-hand smoke) is prohibited in all beaches, playgrounds, sports fields (including the spectators stand), parks, trails and in other public spaces.

Organizations can show their membership or community just how much they care about their health and well-being by simply adding that an event is “tobacco-free” and “smoke-free” to print promotional materials and descriptions on websites and social media. Ensuring that there is smoke-free signage at the event location is another thing they should check or mark off their list. In most cases, there will already be no ‘No Smoking’ signs at the venue, if the event is held in one of New Brunswick’s designated smoke-free public outdoor spaces (Smoke-Free Spaces Act). Event organizers can thus take a moment to mention and point out the sign at the beginning of the event.

If there is no signage already on the premises because the event is held in a space that is not designated as smoke-free by law, event organizers can still decide to make an outdoor space smoke-free and enforce this policy for the duration of their event. Signs, as well as handy scripts for staff and volunteers on explaining the smoke-free nature of an event, are available in the NBATC’s Making My Outdoor Event Smoke-Free toolkit.

Think organizing a public outdoor smoke-free event and ensuring people will respect the smoke-free nature of the event is difficult? Think again. Read the following testimonials from #TobaccoFreeLiving #Champion Town of Quispamsis, and you will see that smoke-free is easy to achieve!

Town of Quispamsis

“When we have family-focused public events, we make sure they are safe and fun for the children and thus tobacco and smoke-free,” explains Patrick Butler, 2018 Summer Events and Active Transportation Coordinator for the Town of Quispamsis, who worked with supervisor Megan Lucas, Director of Programming, to organize Quispamsis’ 2018 Parks & Trails Day event. “We have a copy of the NBATC’s Making My Outdoor Event Smoke-Free guide. We made sure to include the words ‘tobacco-free’ in the description of our event and everywhere we promoted it, such as social media, websites, etc. We had signs at our event saying it was a tobacco and smoke-free event. Smoking at our event was not an issue, no one smoked or had cigarettes with them. We did not need to intervene. We had mostly families and children in attendance, so most people were non-smokers already, or some of them might have been smokers, but they already understood the importance of not smoking around children.”

The Town of Quispamsis’s Parks & Trails Day event had over 75 participants. The day included exploring an accessible interpretative trail as well as a scavenger hunt surrounding the qplex, the town’s multipurpose recreation and conference centre. Patrick says: “The kids loved the guided nature walk along the trail. Our guide talked about and pointed out various trees and plant species, birds, etc. We also had prizes that people could win after completing the scavenger hunt. We had promoted our event on Facebook and in the local media, and we had sent out special invitations to local schools and daycares. We were pleased with the turnout.”

The Town of Quispamsis held a successful Parks & Trails Day event, which included a guided nature walk. The Town of Quispamsis makes an effort to ensure its family-focused events are tobacco-free and promoted as such. 

Story and photos used with permission from the Town of Quispmasis.

Original content published in October 2018. Revised in April 2019

Author: Nathalie Landry – NBATC Communications Coordinator