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Young Lungs Program Encourages Outdoor Smoke Free Parks

Sunday, December 14, 2014 @ 12:12 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

yooung lungsYoung Lungs at Play, a statewide program promoted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in partnership with Northwest Pennsylvania (NWPA) Tobacco Control Program, has named area groups in four counties to a 2014 Honor Roll and encouraged two Venango County municipalities to adopt ordinances to designate outdoor tobacco-free areas.

“It is an initiative brought to the municipalities, school districts, or any organization that has outdoor areas where young children play,” said Paula Di Gregory, Tobacco Programs Coordinator for Crawford and Venango Counties. “They are encouraged to develop tobacco-free policies.  If they join the initiative, they become participants and help promote a healthy environment for the community, especially the children.”

The 2014 Pennsylvania Honor Roll named participants in four area counties, including:

Clarion County: Borough of Shippenville, Clarion-Limestone School District, Jefferson-Clarion Pre-K Counts, Keystone School District, Keystone Smiles, Knox Little League, New Bethlehem Parks, North Clarion School District, Redbank Valley School District, and Union School District

Jefferson County: Brookville School District, Borough of Brookville, Borough of Reynoldsville, Playhouse Children’s Center, and Quiet Creek Herb Farm and School of Country Living

Venango County: City of Franklin, Pleasantville Borough, Titusville Area School District, and Valley Grove School District

Forest County: Forest Area School District and Tionesta Borough.

Young Lungs at Play is a program aimed to help communities create tobacco-free parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas for children.

Many Pennsylvania communities have adopted outdoor tobacco-free policies at parks, zoos, athletic fields, playgrounds, trails, and even city sidewalks and streets to help protect both children and the environment.

Titusville parks were the first in our area to adopt a tobacco-free policy, and their parks have been tobacco free since 2012.

Franklin and Oil City have each adopted ordinances for the Young Lungs at Play initiative.

“City Council adopted in last fall it was in place before Apple Fest,” said Franklin City Manager Bill Gabrys.

“Over Applefest Week, I asked the police department, and they ran into a few people who were smoking in the park, and they advised the individuals of the ordinance that was in effect and people complied without incident.  There hasn’t been anything major since the ordinance was passed, and for the most part, everyone has been courteous and compliant. It’s in force at all times, but Applefest would have been the biggest event since the ordinance was passed.”

Eric Strahl, Oil City City Manager, said he hadn’t heard of much reaction to their ordinance that differs a little from Franklin.

“Paula came to a council meeting sometime last summer and make a request for the council to adopt a tobacco-free ordinance as far as recreational facilities were concerned,” said Strahl. “Council ended up passing an ordinance that applied when youth leagues and high schools were playing on the baseball field and things like that, the fields were tobacco free.  When a men’s league was playing it was decided to have the option of smoking or non-smoking.  We also set something up for as far as the municipal pool was concerned and made that basically a tobacco free zone, except for a small smoking area outside the gated area.”

Strahl said the ordinance went into effect the last half of the summer when the pool was still open in Oil City.

 


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