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Last year, the Imperial Valley Pride Board of Directors voted to pass a policy that would prohibit smoking at the annual Imperial Valley Pride event. 

A public opinion poll was conducted to survey Pride participants and community members about community knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding a smoke-free policy. There were one-hundred and twenty-three respondents. Most respondents reported an awareness of the harm of smoking and secondhand smoke and would be concerned if children were exposed to secondhand smoke at a Pride event. Regardless of smoking status, most favored making the El Centro Pride event smoke-free. Over 80 percent of respondents would be more likely to attend smoke-free pride events. 

Some of the benefits of a smoke-free policy include reducing smoking rates among members of the LGBT community and eliminating the association of smoking and Pride activities. It also protects participants from exposure to tobacco-related litter and pollution. 

I am very concerned about the many flavored tobacco products that are available and accessible to youth. I think the best thing we can do is set a better example for our youth and not have these products displayed or promoted at Pride events. I myself have been trying to quit cigarettes and it makes it a lot harder when I have to be around smokers. 

During this year’s Pride event, it is prohibited to use any smoking/vaping devices on the event site. This policy applies during the entire event and to everyone in attendance.