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More communities make parks tobacco-free

Protects kids from dangers of second-hand smoke while they play

The Allegheny County Health Department and Tobacco Free Allegheny have reported that so far this year seven more communities – Dravosburg, McKees Rocks, Monroeville, North Versailles, Robinson, Stowe and Wall – have made their parks, playgrounds and other outdoor recreational areas tobacco-free.

“We salute these communities for creating a win-win situation.  It gives children an opportunity to be physically active, which is important to their overall health and development, and takes away the poor example adults set by smoking in front of children,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ronald E. Voorhees. 

Thirty-four of the County’s 130 municipalities are now part of Pennsylvania’s Young Lungs at Play program, which aims to reduce children’s exposure to harmful second-hand smoke.

The 27 others are Aspinwall, Baldwin Borough, Brentwood, East McKeesport, Emsworth, Findlay, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Glassport, Harmar, Harrison, Heidelberg, Liberty, McDonald, Millvale, Munhall, Ohio, Pitcairn, Reserve, Scott, Springdale Township, Tarentum, Upper St. Clair, West Homestead, West Mifflin, Wilkins and Versailles.

“Our goal is to get every municipality to join Young Lungs at Play so every community park, playground and outdoor recreational area is tobacco-free and a place where children can breathe fresh air and not be exposed to second-hand smoke,” said Cindy Thomas, Executive Director of Tobacco Free Allegheny. 

Second-hand smoke is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a class A carcinogen known to cause cancer in humans and can also cause serious illnesses in children such as asthma, respiratory infections and cardio-vascular disease. 

Children exposed to second-hand smoke inhale many of the same cancer-causing substances as smokers.  There is no risk-free level of exposure, and even brief exposures can be harmful.  A 100% smoke-free environment is the only way to be fully protected from second-hand smoke.             

Municipalities can obtain advice and assistance on adopting a tobacco-free ordinance for parks, playgrounds and outdoor recreational areas by contacting Tobacco Free Allegheny at 412-322-8321 or www.tobaccofreeallegheny.org. In addition, Young Lungs at Play signage is available free of charge for communities that join the program to post in their tobacco-free play areas.

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