Smoke Free Fair

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Smoke Free at the Marin County Fair –
Another 1st in the Nation

Californians have long been able to enjoy dining, shopping and working indoors without breathing in deadly tobacco smoke. Now, thanks to the Marin Board of Supervisors, Marin Fair is also smoke-free.

In November 2006 the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance making it illegal to smoke at outdoor public places in unincorporated areas - including bars and restaurants, the farmers market and the Fair. The fact is that over 86% of Californians do not smoke and they do not want to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. It was a logical decision to insure the safety of all.

Although there have been some fairs in the country that have created smoke-free sections inside their fairs, Marin was the first smoke-free county fair in the nation. According to Jim Farley, Director of the Fair, “It is new to us and new to the fair industry. We hope to be a model for other county fairs nationwide for how to create a successful smoke-free fair.” “It is a courtesy to fair goers and it seemed like the right thing to do” said Bob Curry, Coordinator of the Marin County Tobacco Related Disease Control Program.

Jim Farley worked closely with the Tobacco Related Disease Control Program to provide education on the new policy to all fair goers and to also provide assistance and incentives to smokers. There are three smoking areas, shaded with benches, outside fair gates set up to provide a place for smokers that would not have any impact on any non-smokers. The Tobacco Related Disease Control Program recruited, trained and supervised the five outreach workers. The team of five staff members toured the fairgrounds, providing cessation materials and encouraging smokers to go to one of the smoking areas. Complimentary gift bags with items promoting healthy alternatives to smoking were offered to all smokers.

Congratulations and many thanks need to be extended to the Board of Supervisors for the passage of the policy and to Jim Farley and his staff for the successful collaboration with the Tobacco Related Disease Control Program in the implementation of the policy. Marin’s Smoke-Free Fair (the first in the nation and possibly North America) was a success. The Smoke-Free Fair received extensive television, radio and print media coverage – all positive, since the combination of education and enforcement made the Marin County Fair truly smoke-free. Media messaging themes were tied in to the Healthy Marin Partnership Play Fair Prevention projects. The County’s Tobacco program has already received requests from peers in other counties on how to implement a smoke-free fair.