Saturday, July 20, 2024

York County’s McReynolds Sports Complex Goes 100% Tobacco-Free 

The McReynolds Sports Complex is 100% smoke-free. (Courtesy York County)

YORKTOWN — York County has implemented a new tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free policy for the McReynolds Athletic Complex in Yorktown.

The facility boasts 13 athletic fields, 2 playgrounds, and a multi-purpose path.

Y Street, a program of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) and Virginia’s largest youth-led movement, said it initiated the policy change. VFHY and Y Street said their members work to ensure Virginians have equitable access to clean and healthier outdoor environments through their Share The Air campaign.

According to its website, Share The Air aims to create 100% tobacco-free parklands by encouraging local park and recreation departments and government officials to adopt comprehensive tobacco-free and e-cigarette-free outdoor policies.

In November 2023, Y Street members Morgan Morris and Alisha Mask, from Tabb High School, met with Director of Community Services Sheri Newcomb to explain how the county can provide an even greater outdoor experience for its residents by going 100% tobacco-free.

“As someone who suffers from asthma, I would like to enjoy my time in outdoor recreational areas without fear of a sudden asthma attack or having to use my inhaler due to secondhand smoking,” Morris explained.

According to Y Street, York County strives to create dedicated spaces that allow residents to be active, relax, and gather outdoors, prompting the Director of Community Services to sign a commitment form to adopt a voluntary tobacco-free outdoor policy and partner with Share The Air.

The impact of the new policy is expected to reduce tobacco and vape litter and residents’ exposure to secondhand smoke, as well as promote positive role modeling for youth who visit McReynolds Athletic Complex, Y Street said.

“Whether you are hitting a home run, scoring a goal, or exercising on the fitness trail at the McReynolds Athletic Complex, residents can now enjoy the fresh air by avoiding smoking and vaping at the sports complex,” Newcomb said.

York County is Share The Air’s 19th partner, and received free tobacco-free signage as part of its partnership with Share The Air to post as a reminder to visitors.

Y Street said it hopes to see the county extend the policy to all its parklands in the near future.

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