HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Implementation of a plan to restrict smoking at the Kansas State Fair has been delayed because of funding concerns, but backers say designated smoking areas should be established in time for the 2017 fair.
The state fair board voted in May 2015 to designate 12 smoking areas across the fairgrounds for the 2016 state fair. But fair manager Susan Sankey said grants needed to pay for benches and smoking receptacles weren’t received in time for this year’s event, which ends Sunday, The Hutchinson News reported (http://bit.ly/2cOGB0F ).
Students with Reno County’s Communities That Care made several presentations to the fair board beginning in March 2014 to press the issue. Smoking is already banned in fair buildings, the grandstand seating area and the carnival’s “kiddie land” area, but it is allowed in many other congested fairground areas.
The News reported last year that more than 15 state fairs restrict smoking outdoors to encourage a healthier, family-friendly environment. Some ban smoking altogether.
Communities That Care told the fair board it would donate five smoking tents, program coordinator Carla Smith said.
But Sankey said smoking tents aren’t a good option because of Kansas’ winds and that something more permanent would make sense for the grounds, which are open 11 months of the year.
The Reno County Health Department has made $500 is available for signs to herald the smoking areas, department health education and promotions supervisor Anna Brown said. The project received a nearly $4,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which will purchase 24 benches made from recycled tires. CTC and the health department matched that amount through dollars funded through the local Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition.
“We want this to be positive for everyone,” she said. “By the 2017 fair, the areas will be up and ready to go.”
Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com