The SCRATCH Coalition Is At It Again!!

By: Robert Hawn

WHAT?

The Southwest council is taking the neighborhood by storm as the SCRATCH Coalition has added not one, but two brand new outdoor recreation ordinances. These get added to an already impressive list of existing ordinances; giving now seven total in Cumberland County alone.

Early 2018 has been a busy time for the coalition as well as the county as they introduced brand new ordinances in both Maurice River and Millville Townships. Since the age of sale of all tobacco products was raised from 19 to 21 in November 2017, the SCRATCH Coalition has been working collaboratively with Tobacco Free for a Healthy New Jersey, Inspira's Region 10 Cancer and Chronic Disease Coalition, Millville LINK, and Cumberland County Positive Youth Development Coalition connecting with municipalities who have not yet passed Outdoor Recreation Ordinances in the county.

 WHERE?

 In March, Maurice River Township amended Ordinance NO.671- Section 3-5. This ordinance was passed to ban the use all tobacco products including E- cigarettes in all recreation areas such as parks and all baseball fields. SCRATCH has also partnered up with New Jersey Prevention Network to post educational signage in all baseball dugouts just in time for this current baseball season. This Ordinance was put into effect on March 15, 2018.

More recently, the city of Millville has passed the amending of Ordinance NO.17-2018. This came after two Millville high school students Jared Kinlaw (10th grade) and Brianna Messier (11th grade) spoke out at a Millville City Council Working Session in March. The students presented their cases as to why they are passionate about seeing tobacco free areas in Millville.  Commissioners had no choice but to unanimously pass this new Outdoor Recreational Ordinance banning the use of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes on city properties including city parks and City Hall beginning on April 27, 2018.

  Millville Junior Brianna Messier presenting at a Millville City Council Working Session in March 2018 about the reasons why she is passionate about seeing smoke free places in Millville.

Millville Junior Brianna Messier presenting at a Millville City Council Working Session in March 2018 about the reasons why she is passionate about seeing smoke free places in Millville.

  Left to right: Millville LINK’s Chelsea Santiago, Tobacco Free for a Healthy NJ’s Kim Burns, Millville Mayor Michael Santiago, Millville Officer Rick Kott, and SCRATCH Coalition Coordinator Donald Noblett

Left to right: Millville LINK’s Chelsea Santiago, Tobacco Free for a Healthy NJ’s Kim Burns, Millville Mayor Michael Santiago, Millville Officer Rick Kott, and SCRATCH Coalition Coordinator Donald Noblett

WHY?

A lot of people wonder exactly why these ordinances are passed because they believe the common misconception that second hand smoke can’t kill people. Well, according to American Lung Association, secondhand smoke is responsible for more than 41,000 deaths per year. That’s a scary statistic because of the fact of how easily it can be prevented. Now, this isn’t a PSA against people who smoke because even though it’s a nasty habit, it is understandable that it is an addiction that is hard to shake. This is simply serving as plea to care about protecting youth & preventing youth substance abuse use. Make it a priority to make the community better by not smoking in places filled with innocent children.  Simply care because Ordinances like these create healthy communities for our families to live, work, and play.

 HOW?

If you live in a municipality that has not yet passed an Outdoor Recreational Ordinance and you would like more information on the benefits of doing so, please contact SCRATCH Coalition Coordinator Donald Noblett.  donald@southwestcouncil.org  (856) 794-1011 ext. 316