A community challenge tour recently stopped in Doylestown to recognize the borough's new tobacco-free public parks.
Officials gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in Maplewood to check out the new signs that tell the public smoking is no longer allowed.
The smoking ban and signs were approved earlier this year as part of the "Young Lungs At Play," a Pennsylvania Department of Health public health initiative to eliminate children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.
The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc. works with municipalities, school districts, county government, youth recreation and sports organizations to coordinate the no-cost, tobacco-free parks and playgrounds program. Organizations that ban tobacco use receive weather resistant "Young Lungs at Play" signs to post in public areas where children play.
"The Central Bucks Drug Free Project Coalition welcomes the tour to honor those who have adopted this important health initiative,” Melanie Swanson from The Council, said in a statement.
"Exposure to secondhand smoke is estimated to cause approximately 50,000 deaths each year in the United States and over one million illnesses in children. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen and the Surgeon General reports that there is no safe level of exposure. Children are at particular risk for asthma, respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease when exposed to tobacco smoke."
"Outdoor tobacco use has an environmental impact as well," said borough council member Noni West. "Cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in the world. Not biodegradable, they are costly to clean up, and tobacco waste can poison our waterways, animals and people.”
"I am passionate about this issue and deeply grateful for creative, effective and community-based solutions to this important public health issue," said council member Marlene Pray.
Other Bucks County communities and organizations that have participated in "Young Lungs at Play" also recognized by the tour include Hilltown Township, Morrisville, New Hope, Northampton Township, Quakertown, Richland Township, Solebury Township, and Upper Southampton Township.