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Borough to be Honored for Smoke-Free Playgrounds

The 'Young Lungs at Play' group will stop by Doylestown's park in Maplewood next week for a ceremony.

In June, Doylestown Borough parks went smoke-free.

Now, the borough council members who approved that ban are being honored for helping protect kids' health.

The "Young Lungs at Play" community group will stop in Doylestown borough this week as part of a "tour" recognizing local communities for taking steps to protect children's health in public places.

They will gather Thursday at 4 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Maplewood to honor borough leaders who voted to approve the measure.

The Doylestown visit will come after stops in Chester, Ephrata and Pottsville, other Pennsylvania communities that have enacted smoking bans in public parks and playgrounds. The tour comes during the week of the Great American Smoke Out.

Young Lungs at Play is a public health initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Clean Air Council and the Health Promotion Council.

After Doylestown council's vote in June, new signs were posted in the borough's parks alerting the public that smoking is no longer allowed. The signs were donated to the borough by the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, a leading regional substance abuse and prevention agency based in Doylestown.

Council members cited the adverse health affects of second-hand smoke and the nuisance of littering cigarette butts as impetus for the ban.

Walter Henkels November 13, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I think that this is great stuff but how is it going to be enforced and what are the penalties? What will the fines collected, assuming that there are fines, go towards? Now lets take another step in the positive direction and repeal the absurd ordinance that bans skateboarding in the Borough. If we are concerned about our youths health we should be encouraging them to be physically active and channeling their energies in a positive direction.
June Goodwin November 13, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Smoking is a health issue. Since we do not plan to station policemen at the playgrounds to enforce the smoking ban, it is incumbent upon each of us to honor the ban by not smoking in the playground. Skateboarding is another issue. One is of property damage on the surface you skateboard on. The other is legal liability if someone falls and gets hurt on your property. You would be the target of a lawsuit for damages if a skateboarder got injured on your property as medical bills will flow in and your homeowners insurance would have no choice but to pay up. Since we have bike paths and encourage users to make good use of them, we shoul dhave a place where skateboarders could ply their trade. It will cost money and we would have to raise money to construct such a park. Plus the borough will be stuck with liability issues should someone get hurt.
Walter Henkels November 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I have been before the Boroughs Public Safety Committee twice regarding the issue of repealing the ban. The Borough sees skating as public safety nuisance and chooses to throw a blanket ban over a sport that has annual revenue of 5.7 billion dollars in the United States. I have proposed keeping the ban within the business district of the Borough but that fell of deft ears because “it would be impossible to enforce”. I, as a 45yr old male cannot go for a longboard ride in my neighborhood without breaking the law. My kids cannot skate to the park to play on the swings or have a game of kickball, the 15yr old kid can not use his skateboard as a form of transportation to and from his job. Now explain to me how a skateboard is any more dangerous than and bike or a pair of rollerblades? If you wish to discuss offline let me know and I will supply you with my contact information.
Walter Henkels November 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Is there a fine or other form of penalty for smoking in the parks? If not, this ban is just a bunch of signs placed in the parks. The issue of property damage is valid but is being dealt with incorrectly. If a skater is caught defacing a public bench by grinding on it the fine with come in two parts, One for not following the Ban on Skating Ordinance ($300.00) and one for vandalism and destruction of public property. Your argument of liability is not valid because the Ordinance does not relate to Private property. A property owner has every right to post that skating is not allowed on their property, just as they can post no trespassing and no pets allowed. Your statement surrounding the public skate park makes it evident that you are not fully informed on this topic. If you live in the Borough your tax dollars helped construct the “public” skate park at the Doylestown YMCA. The issue is that this skate park is over crowded, has limited hours and is not free. The skate park was also turned over to the YMCA in entirety this past year. If a FREE skate park were to be built, as in many of our surrounding townships, it would be handled no different than Burpee, Maplewood, Hillside………..Parks. The liability issue would only come up if there were proven negligence on the part of the Borough. If it is posted that helmets are required and the person is not wearing the mandated equipment than the responsibility falls on them.

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