Irwin takes stance against vaping, bans from parks and playgrounds
Amid the growing concern over the health impact of electronic cigarettes, Irwin council is making a move to ban their use at the borough’s parks and playgrounds.
Council this week directed solicitor Zachary Kansler to preparean ordinance to prohibit vaping at places such as Irwin Park. The ordinance would be available for public review before it is approved.
Kansler told council that he received a sample ordinance from the Penn State Extension that calls for the ban of vaping at parks. The measure would expand an existing ordinance that bans the use of tobacco products at Irwin’s parks and playgrounds.
Esther Ulery, extension assistant tobacco prevention at Penn State Extension in Westmoreland County, said the initiative is part of the state Health Department’s Young Lungs At Play program, which places an emphasis on preventing youngsters from breathing second-hand smoke, including vapors from e-cigarettes.
North Huntingdon, Ligonier and Vandergrift have adopted similar prohibitions against vaping in parks, Ulery said. She has contacted about 15 municipalities in the county to adopt similar policies, which are extensions of the anti-tobacco use in parks.
Penn State Extension has a tobacco cessation program and had developed a model ordinance, said Chuck Gill, a spokesman for Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Gill was not certain how many county extension program are using the model ordinance.
Vaping has come under increased scrutiny because of health concerns. As of Oct. 1, 18 deaths have been confirmed in 15 states this year as a result of the use of e-cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control said. The CDC also said that 1,080 lung injury cases associated vaping have been reported as of Oct. 1.
The Centers for Disease Control said it has joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state and local health departments in investigating the circumstances surrounding e-cigarette users in several states who have suffered lung damage from the use of the product.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed that there was one death related to vaping in the state.
“The lung injury cases are very serious, life-threatening and even fatal,” said Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine in a news release.
Levine said they don’t yet know what is making people sick and whether the illnesses are related to products being used, or possibly the delivery of those products.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .