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Shaler's Kiwanis Park now no smoking

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Shaler Township officials agreed to extinguish the option to smoke in at least one of its township parks.

Last week, the Board of Commissioners voted to direct the township's solicitor to draft an ordinance making Kiwanis Park and Crawford Pool tobacco free in a pilot effort to join the Young Lungs at Play initiative, a program offered through Tobacco Free Allegheny to create tobacco free playgrounds and parks in the county.

“We are thrilled every time a new municipality comes on board,” said Cindy Thomas, executive director of Tobacco Free Allegheny.

Shaler Township joins more than 35 municipalities and organizations in the county, including Aspinwall, Franklin Park and Millvale boroughs, Reserve Township and the Baierl Family YMCA in Franklin Park to create tobacco free parks and playgrounds through the program.

Township solicitor Joseph E. Vogrin III will write an ordinance for the Board of Commissioners to approve and clarify the penalty the board members wanted to include.

“There will be signs posted all around, so it's how penal you would like to make it,” Vogrin said.

The board members agreed that offenders would be asked to leave the park if caught smoking and there will be no designated smoking areas in the park.

“You're either smoke free or you're not,” said township Commissioner James Boyle.

Thomas said the move will benefit children and community members in Shaler in a number of ways.

“We talk about it from a three-fold benefit,” Thomas said. “The obvious one is that people are not smoking in the area so it reduces any second-hand smoke around the children. It's protecting kids, pets, adults from second hand smoke. It reduces litter in the playgrounds.

“What we really see as the principle reason to do this is, we know from all of the research, all of the science … that when you prohibit smoking in more places it reduces the notion for kids that smoking is a normal adult behavior … because we know kids imitate what they see.

“So, it's really a piece of primary prevention.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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