Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smoking Ban in WP Parks & Playgrounds

The Common Council has agreed to consider a ban on smoking in White Plains' parks and playgrounds.  Hopefully, it will act to adopt the ban before the 2011 parks and recreation season gets underway.
Most people, including most smokers, know that second hand smoke is seriously harmful, leading to increased rates of heart disease, respiratory illness, and cancer, particularly in the young and elderly. The risks are substantial.  The Surgeon General says "There is no safe amount of second hand smoke."  Deleterious effects start just seconds after exposure!
In order to eliminate or reduce the dangers of second hand smoke, Federal, State and County laws have banned smoking in many environments where non-smokers are involuntarily exposed, such as airplanes, public transportation, restaurants, bars, and workplaces. Locally, private hospitals and medical groups have banned smoking on their campuses, so have hotels, colleges and the White Plains Public Schools.
Banning smoking in our parks and playgrounds will inconvenience some smokers, but like most Americans, they are law-abiding and will make the sacrifice for the good of others.  A few will be reported to Public Safety for persistent violation of the new statute.
The ban on smoking in parks and playgrounds will cost almost nothing to implement, will meet with widespread approval, and will measurably increase the health, safety and quality of life for those enjoying our parks and playgrounds.
Let's get this done now and start working on a ban for the last vulnerable venue -- multifamily housing.