Throop to consider banning tobacco from parks and playgrounds

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE by Jeff Harvath from The Times-Tribune

Smoking in borough parks, playgrounds and recreational areas soon may be banned.

Council will consider adopting a new ordinance prohibiting the use of tobacco products at those locations during its June 13 meeting.  If passed, the ordinance would expand Throop’s existing ban on tobacco use in borough buildings.

“(The ban) is not going to come as a surprise at all,” said council President Tom Lukasewicz.  “There are several people who have spoken in favor of the ban, especially down at the Little League (complex).”

Because the borough now controls the Throop Little LEague complex on Sanderson Street, it would b eincluded in the ordinance.  Other affected recreational areas include Washington Street Park, Skunk Hollow and the Electric Street and Warsaw playgrounds.

“There is no place for tobacco products in the vicinity of young children,” said Mr. Lukasewicz.

Several fans watching a Little LEague game at the park Thursday night expressed a similar sentiment, speaking in favor of the ban.

“I think it’s a great idea because we are trying to set a good example for the children,” said Melissa Angelo, whose kids play for the Throop Little LEague.”  Just like how smoking is banned in restaurants, I think it’s a good idea.”

The prohibition of tobacco use in borough parks would also cut down on second-hand smoke, which is why Dave Mrozek of Scranton supports a ban.

A former smoker and a cancer survivor, Mr. Mrozek said his doctor advised him to avoid secondhand smoke.  He also said keeping commercial tobacco away from areas where kids play is a wise move.

“If they see you with a cigarette, they might get the habit to,” Mr. Mrozek said.

Any person found in violation of the ordinance would be forced to leave the park or playground, and might be fined $25.

Borough Secretary Renee O’Malley said that in the years since Throop banned tobacco use in borough buildings, she couldn’t recall the ordinance ever being enforced.  Nonetheless, the new ordinance would give Throop officials the power to take action if the issue arises at parks and playgrounds.

“Unless you have something enacted, you can’t enforce it, you can’t do anything to stop it,” said Mr. Lukasewicz.  “If it takes one person (being penalized) to set an example, that’s what has to be done.”

A motion to advertise the ordinance last week received unanimous support from all council members present.

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