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Smoking banned in Kiwanis Park

Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal - While smoking has not been allowed in the pool area of Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township, the entire park now is smoke free in a pilot program approved by the Township Board of Commissioners on July 9.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal</em></div>While smoking has not been allowed in the pool area of Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township, the entire park now is smoke free in a pilot program approved by the Township Board of Commissioners on July 9.
Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal - Cigarette butt receptacles in Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township soon will be removed after the Township Board of Commissioners approved a pilot program to make the entire park smoke free on July 9.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal</em></div>Cigarette butt receptacles in Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township soon will be removed after the Township Board of Commissioners approved a pilot program to make the entire park smoke free on July 9.
Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal - Kiwanis Park, in Shaler Township, now is a smoke free park after the unanimous approval on July 9 by the Board of Commissioners to start a pilot program to prohibit smoking in parks.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Bethany Hofstetter | Shaler Journal</em></div>Kiwanis Park, in Shaler Township, now is a smoke free park after the unanimous approval on July 9 by the Board of Commissioners to start a pilot program to prohibit smoking in parks.
By Bethany Hofstetter
Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 4:27 p.m.
 

It's lights out for smokers in Kiwanis Park in Shaler Township.

The board of commissioners approved 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.

The law became effective as of the ordinance's approval on July 9 with violators being asked to leave the park.

“It's really great,” said Brittany Huffman, who coordinates the county's Young Lungs at Play program, of Shaler's ordinance adoption. “We're really excited for them, and it's wonderful we're able to get the program out to more people.”

Shaler Township joins more than 46 municipalities and organizations in the county to create tobacco free parks and playgrounds through the program including Aspinwall, Franklin Park and Millvale boroughs, Reserve Township and the Baierl Family YMCA, in Franklin Park.

Commissioners considered implementing the program last year but tabled it in favor of seeking more information about how to start the program and enforce it. While some uncertainties remain regarding enforcement, the board approved piloting the program at the township's largest and most popular park.

Shaler Township code enforcement officer Bob Vita said the public works department will post signs in the park informing visitors of the new ordinance.

Huffman said the benefits of adopting a tobacco-free policy in public parks are many.

“The big one is you're protecting children from secondhand smoke, it contains so many chemicals … and more studies show it is as dangerous or more dangerous than smoking,” she said. “And prevention. It helps to create environments where (smoking) is not normal.”

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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