Seven more communities in the Pittsburgh area have banned tobacco and smoking in their parks, playgrounds, and other recreational areas. Currently, 34 of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County are a part of the Young Lungs at Play program.
Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the County Health Department, said the goal is to get every community on board. "We now have roughly one fourth, one out of every four municipalities, on board, and we're looking to get more and more to make their parks, playgrounds tobacco-free, smoke-free," Cole said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies second-hand smoke as a Class A carcinogen. It is known to cause cancer and other serious illnesses in children such as asthma, respiratory infections, and cardio-vascular disease.
The seven new program participants are Dravosburg, McKees Rocks, Monroeville, North Versailles, Robinson, Stowe, and Wall. Cole said these communities will find themselves in a win-win situation.
"We think it's very important for children to be physically active. It's important to their overall health and development, but by making the parks and playgrounds tobacco-free and smoke-free, we think it also takes away the poor example that too many adults are setting by smoking in front of children," Cole said.
Across Pennsylvania, more than 180 communities and school districts have banned smoking and tobacco at their parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities. The Health Department and Tobacco Free Allegheny started the program in Allegheny County 18 months ago.
Municipalities interested in joining Young Lungs at Play can obtain information on adopting smoke-free ordinances at www.tobaccofreeallegheny.org.