Movies After Dark in The Park Send a Positive Message to Youth and Families
March 1, 2016

The City of Ocala staff are always looking to bring things to do in Marion County with concert series, special events, holiday celebrations, and now more things to do after dark. Every Friday in March, Recreation and Park will be hosting After Dark in the Park series, where families can bring their blankets and chairs and enjoy cinema in the great outdoors.

An important change to this March movie in the park series is its designation as a tobacco free event. As a sponsor, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County along with Community Health workers with the QuitDoc Foundation have worked alongside City of Ocala staff to make the opening series tobacco free.

The designation as a tobacco free event appeals not only to protecting public health, but serves to help the environment. The State of California EPA released a report on Toxic Volatile Organic Compounds in Environmental Tobacco Smoke [1994]. In it they found that cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world leading to thousands of pounds of tobacco material put into the environment. They not only create a fire hazard in outdoor areas, but the chemicals in cigarette butts like cyanide and arsenic leak into the soil and water supply.

There is a misconception that filters are biodegradable. Filters under perfect conditions can take 5-10 years to decompose. The American Littoral Society found that 96% of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can persist in the environment as long as other plastics. Even after decomposition, the chemicals found can remain in the environment long after.

The event organizer, Kristin Ainscow says of the event “This is a family event, at least 50% of the attendees are young children. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and connect with nature in a unique way while viewing the movie.”

According to the Surgeon General, even a small amount of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause adverse reactions like breathing difficulties, eye irritation, headache, nausea, and asthma attacks. Thanks to the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County, the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks Department, Measure Up Marion County, and the QuitDoc Foundation families will be able to enjoy the After Dark in the Park March Series in a tobacco free environment.

Stay up to date on the many events from the City of Ocala, including After Dark in the Park, by liking their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ocala-Recreation-and-Parks-250890744098/?fref=ts . You can visit the event yourself beginning at 7:30 pm on March 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th at Tuscawilla Park. If you are interested in seeing more tobacco free events or supporting tobacco free parks you can join the Play Tobacco Free workgroup by contacting Sarah Damien: SDamien@QuitDoc.com or 352-538-1941.