School students from San Marcos Middle School felt the smoking limitations put in place in San Marcos parks weren’t enough.
Even with a limited number of designated smoking areas, the second-hand smoke still lingered. People were vaping both legal and illegal drugs, and cigarette butts littered the grounds.
So, seven students from the San Marcos Club Live youth group set out on a mission to convince the San Marcos City Council to eliminate the designated smoking areas and declare the parks “smoke-free.”
“I have been to many park clean ups and activities and have seen cigarettes in places where they do not belong. This is having a bad impact on children, adults, our elderly, and the entire environment itself,” said student Toluwalase Banjo. “I learnt how horrible smoking is in parks and anywhere that it is not normally permitted. Smoking and vaping is destroying our environment and those that live in it."
The youth documented these issues and presented before the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, who gave the effort its unanimous support. When the item went before the full City Council in January for review, the students were there to present their findings and express their concerns. As a result of their efforts, the City Council voted unanimously to remove all smoking from San Marcos parks.
“The time it took to get this policy done was forever,’ said student Nancy Sanchez. “But it was worth it to know that we are helping others and children from being in danger of secondhand smoke.”
The seven students that participated in the effort include Sanchez, Toluwalase, Daniel Garcia, Esperanza Luis, Jared Diaz, José Granados, and Lizbeth Luis.
Read more in the San Diego Union Tribune.