Smoking and minor sports don’t mix

The signs are displayed prominently around the stands at Brackinreid Park – no one has questioned them and there have been no problems.

These signs read Kids Share This Air Tobacco-Free Zone.

“We haven’t had one issue to deal with for smoking in the stands,” said Rob Sigman, president of Brockville Little League Baseball.

Tobacco-free signs surround the bleachers at Brackinreid Park while the Ontario Major Little League baseball championships take place.

Tobacco-free signs surround the bleachers at Brackinreid Park while the Ontario Major Little League baseball championships take place.

“Our mandate has always been no smoking in the stands.”

As players and spectators packed into the park on Tuesday, organizers of the Ontario Major Little League championships handed out flyers with park rules. One of these rules was to please abide by the no-smoking rules in posted areas.

“I’m sure if there weren’t signs there, and someone was smoking in the stands, that someone from another town would say something to them,” said Sigman.

Sigman plans to have the signs present next season at the Brockville Legion ball diamonds, where most of the Little League games take place.

“We have no smoking where kids are active,” Sigman added.

The Brockville Soccer Club has also put signs up to discourage smoking when kids are at play, especially on Saturdays when a lot of kids are present.

“I put up some non-smoking signs but after a couple of weeks they were gone,” said Karen Nolan, the club’s president. “I have parents complaining (about people smoking) and referees asking people not to smoke, but I can’t enforce it. It’s a public park.”

Nolan has been working at contacting the City of Brockville to discuss the possibility of a bylaw at the Pat Beasley Memorial Fields for no smoking during games.

“If I could have signs there saying no smoking when events are on and if they could be permanent signs, that’s what I’m hoping for,” Nolan said, noting that if games aren’t being played, she doesn’t care if people smoke at the park.

The Brockville Soccer Club hopes to work on the bylaw over the winter months with both the City of Brockville and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit to have no-smoking rules at the fields in place for next season.

“I don’t know how far we’re going to get, but we’re working on it,” Nolan said.

Both soccer and baseball clubs approached the health unit for the moveable no-smoking signs that the health unit has had ready for a year.

“We’re very pleased to see that the signs are useful,” said Yves Decoste, tobacco program co-ordinator at the health unit. “People respect the sign. It provides the opportunity for people to point to the sign and ask people smoking to please move.”

The health unit has not contacted the City of Brockville about any no-smoking bylaws as they are waiting for local clubs to get in contact with the city first.

“There’s been comments made back and forth. Do we need to do bylaws? Do we need to do enforcement? Not a lot of people are interested in bylaws,” said Decoste.

Decoste is pleased that the issue is out in the public as it helps with the education process towards smoking.

“We just went around (Brackinreid Park) yesterday to see how the signs are working out,” said Decoste. “No one near the players or stands was smoking. It really seemed to be working.”

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