There is no doubt the important role that childcare providers play in nurturing our children and keeping them safe. The Area Substance Abuse Council Prevention Department has been working on educating our community on the latest tobacco and nicotine products. The current smoke free air act does not include products such as electronic smoking devices, the wide variety of e-juices that contain nicotine, dissolvable nicotine, as well as other alternative nicotine products.
Babies and toddlers are curious and enjoy putting things in their mouths to explore their surroundings. Sadly there have been cases of children finding these products and accidentally ingesting them. Secondly, studies have shown that electronic smoking devices give up high levels of particulate matter, toxic metals, and nicotine. Not only do these products pose a risk to the direct well-being of the children, but also staff and visitors to these daycares.
We have had great success is assisting local school districts and businesses with creating a comprehensive nicotine policy to include these new products. Over the last year ASAC’s Prevention Specialists have worked with and passed 12 tobacco free and nicotine free daycare policies in Linn County alone. These daycares include in-home, centers, and preschools. We have expanded this outreach to other communities throughout Jones, Benton, Clinton, and Jackson counties to promote the safest environment possible for our youth. This outreach will continue into the following year.
This last quarter our Prevention Specialists worked with daycares all over Benton County to adopt tobacco-free and nicotine-free policies. Early Beginnings Van Horne, Early Beginnings Atkins, and Karrick Daycare in Vinton all agreed to go nicotine-free. When passing such policies, we provide free signage that was given to these daycares by the Iowa Department of Public Health. “This is a great benefit because experience has shown that signage is a big piece of enforcement for policies as these. We advocate ensuring that these daycares are recognized as a provider in the community at the forefront of substance use prevention strategies,” states Emily Parker, a Prevention Specialist in our Cedar Rapids office.
Our ASAC Prevention Specialists would love to come and provide education on the benefits on adopting nicotine free policies into your daycare or the daycare your child attends. Please reach us at (319) 390-4611 for further information.