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Council considers banning tobacco in Waynesboro parks

Public input wanted in coming weeks before a vote on the restriction

March 21, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Smoking and other use of tobacco products could be banned in Borough of Waynesboro parks if the Waynesboro Borough Council proceeds with a proposal it discussed Wednesday.

Councilman Wayne Driscoll shared information he gathered in meetings with the Waynesboro Police Department, Penn State Extension and an organization called Healthy Communities Partnership, which receives funds from a tobacco lawsuit settlement from 11 years ago.

Driscoll said he worries about children seeing people smoking in a family-friendly setting.

“I’m very much behind this program,” he said.

Karen Johnston from Healthy Communities Partnership talked to the council about the “Young Lungs at Play” program. Signs would designate parks as being tobacco free.

Fines are in place for violations of park rules, Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

Council members said they want public input in coming weeks before deciding whether to create the restriction.

The Borough of Chambersburg adopted similar provisions last November, Johnston said.

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Studies find children start smoking at age 13, sometimes with cigarettes they pick up off the ground, Johnston said. People should have fresh air at parks, she said.

“We want to limit secondhand smoke to our kids, especially in a park setting,” she said.

Councilman Michael Cermak said he is more concerned about children seeing adults smoking than the secondhand smoke aspect.

“Not that I don’t think it’s a right to smoke, but I want to protect the child,” he said.

Signs and assistance with ordinances would be provided at no charge to the municipality, Johnston said.

Mayor Richard Starliper questioned how successfully the restriction could be policed.

“I think the program is going to be a deterrent itself,” Driscoll said.

An exception would likely be made to allow tobacco use at the municipal golf course, officials said.

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