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Clairton council sets smoking regulations for rec areas, even parking lots

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 2:21 a.m.

Clairton council approved an ordinance on Tuesday that makes city recreation areas and their parking lots tobacco-free zones.

Councilman John Lattanzi, the city's fire chief, pushed to have the legislation passed for “the protection of the health of children.”

“Secondhand smoke is harmful,” Lattanzi said.

Tobacco-free zones include the city's seven playgrounds, Clairton Park and Clairton Pool. Clairton City School District spokesperson Alexis Trubiani said Neil C. Brown Stadium already is a tobacco-free zone.

The ordinance references statistics provided by Tobacco Free Allegheny, a nonprofit organization supported by the Allegheny County Health Department.

“More than 858,000 young people are exposed to tobacco smoke pollution every day, and the U.S. Surgeon General has stated that there is no safe level of exposure, whether indoors or outdoors, and that children's exposure to secondhand smoke causes increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, lower respiratory infections, middle ear diseases, more severe asthmas, respiratory symptoms and slowed lung growth and is responsible for the premature deaths of over 430,000 Americans each year from lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness and other diseases,” according to the ordinance.

It states secondhand smoke is responsible for more than 50,000 deaths among nonsmokers each year, and tobacco kills more Americans each year than alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, accidents, fires and AIDS, combined.

Mayor Rich Lattanzi said he does not think the ordinance will have a great impact on the city.

“Obviously it's a good thing for children, but I also think that people who have their own family or private function should have the opportunity to choose if they would prefer to smoke or not smoke,” he said. “My feeling is we have something in place if we need to enforce it. As of right now I don't see much change.”

Tobacco Free Allegheny is expected to provide Clairton with signs for the tobacco-free zones.

City manager Howard Bednar said the police will enforce the ordinance just like any other law, giving out warnings first and possible citations with a maximum fine of $600 per day.

Council voted 3-1 to pay the bills. Councilwoman Kathy Tachoir was absent and Councilman Terry Julian cast the dissenting vote.

Julian said city Solicitor J. Deron Gabriel's $6,534 invoice for June was inflated.

Gabriel said the city had a lot of legal issues that needed to be addressed, and he is not charging Clairton a higher rate than he would any other municipality.

Council adopted an ordinance establishing Summit Way from N. Sixth Street to N. Fourth Street as a one-way street downhill.

Council nominated Jerry A. Angotti, Michael Gressem, Clenard R. Lewis Jr., William S. Scully Jr. and Thomas Simms to the personnel board.

Richard Lattanzi was appointed as the city council representative on the recreation and parks advisory board.

Council approved an agreement with Donnelly-Boland and Associates for 2012 audit services and preparation.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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