For Information or Interviews
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
September 30, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARKANSAS STATE FAIR ANNOUNCES STRONGER TOBACCO-FREE POLICY
Fair Patrons Can Now Breathe Easy
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 30, 2015) – The Arkansas Livestock Show Association (Association), in partnership with the Arkansas Cancer Coalition (ACC) approved a policy on April 4, 2015, to make the Arkansas State Fair and Fairground Complex (Fair) tobacco free.
The use of any tobacco and nicotine products, including electronic cigarettes by any staff, volunteers, visitors, vendors and exhibitors is strictly prohibited in all Fair indoor facilities and within 20 feet of all indoor facilities. Facilities covered by the new policy include all indoor administrative offices, facilities that house livestock and other animals, as well as entertainment facilities as follows:
- Administrative Offices
- Ticket Offices
- Hall of Industry
- Arts and Crafts Building
- Farm and Ranch Building
- Barton Coliseum
- Big Show Diner
- Livestock Facilities
- Equestrian Center
- Blue Moon Pavilion
“The Association recognizes the need to protect fairground visitors and patrons from exposure to secondhand smoke at all events held at the Fair”, says Ralph Shoptaw, president and general manager. This change affirms our mission of creating a family-friendly atmosphere and protecting the public and fair workers from secondhand smoke and tobacco litter. But, most of all, we want to protect children and youth by reducing the chance that they will associate tobacco use with fun and entertainment.”
“We whole heartedly support the Fair in this effort, and in their recognition that tobacco use and secondhand smoke have devastating effects on the health of Arkansans,” says Trena Mitchell, executive director for the ACC. “Almost 6,000 Arkansans die from cancer each year, and most of these deaths are related to tobacco use. This effort will protect close to 500,000 patrons annually, and will send a clear message that tobacco use is not safe”.
Enforcing any tobacco-free policy poses a challenge, but security at the fairgrounds will do everything in their power to do so. Violation of the policy will result in a warning, and anyone who refuses to abide by the policy will be asked to exit the building immediately. Fairgoers will be made aware of the new policy with new signs that are posted at the entrances of the locations mentioned above.
Both the ACC and the Association will continue to work together to ensure the Fair remains tobacco free.
“We hope that our actions will send a strong message to other fairs in the state about how important it is to create a healthier environment for patrons”, says Shoptaw.
About the Arkansas State Fair
The Arkansas State Fair will celebrate its 76th anniversary this year October 9 – 18 at the State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. The fair is Arkansas’ largest attraction, drawing more than 450,000 visitors each year.
About the Arkansas Cancer Coalition
The Arkansas Cancer Coalition’s mission is to facilitate and provide partnerships to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for the citizens of Arkansas. The coalition provides an overview of the current status of cancer control in Arkansas, maintains a plan of cancer control goals and strategies, and improves the quality of life for those persons affected by cancer. To learn more about the coalition, call 501-580-8172 or visit www.arcancercoalition.org
Interview opportunities are available by calling or emailing Trena Mitchell, ACC executive director at 501-580-8172 or Trena.Mitchell@arcancercoalition.org