Visiting the MARC may soon be a more enjoyable experience with the implementation of Young Lungs at Play, an initiative promoting tobacco and smoke-free public parks and playgrounds for young people.
At the December 2018 Meadville Area Recreation Authority (MARA) meeting, MARA board members voted to initiate this smoke free policy on the entire 52 acre campus with the exception of 2 designated smoking areas. The former rules of the MARC also had two designated smoking areas but did not explicitly denote the campus as smoking free in other areas or have an official tobacco free policy.
Four new signs will be added to the campus which will serve as a reminder to patrons not to smoke. Young Lungs at Play aims to eliminate children’s exposure to secondhand smoke at local public parks, playgrounds and playing fields by educating community service organizations, municipalities, school districts and county government agencies. The initiative also provides no-cost weather resistant Young Lungs at Play signs to be posted in those recreation areas.
An estimated 50,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer and heart disease attributable to secondhand smoke exposure . Secondhand smoke exposure also causes an estimated one million illnesses in children each year. The U.S. 1 Environmental Protection Agency classifies tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen and the Surgeon General reports that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, a pollutant that causes serious illness in adults and children.
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. Cigarettes butts are one of the most littered items in the world. Tobacco waste is costly to clean up and has potential to poison our waterways, animals and people.
Participating in Young Lungs at Play is an opportunity for organizations to promote the health of their community. Young people seeking to become engaged in community service learning activities, such as completing high school projects or earning Eagle Scout leadership awards, are encouraged to promote Young Lungs at Play.
For more information about participating in Young Lungs at Play, contact Paula Di Gregory, Tobacco Programs Coordinator for the NWPA Tobacco Control Program at 814-758-1919 and Paula@DiGregory.onmicrosoft.com. Young Lungs at Play is supported by the NWPA Tobacco Control Program, Tobacco Free NWPA and funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Health.