May 19, 2010 - The Town of Tonawanda has joined a growing list of communities [throughout the world] to ban smoking at town buildings and recreation areas.
Monday night, May 17th lawmakers adopted a resolution supporting a tobacco-free policy for all town buildings, swimming pool areas, playgrounds, ball diamonds and playing fields.
"The public overwhelmingly supports these policies," Anthony G. Billoni, director of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition, told lawmakers at their afternoon work session.
In February, Orchard Park became the first community in Erie and Niagara counties to ban tobacco in its parks, beach and recreation areas. Alden, Lancaster and Wilson also are on board, Billoni told lawmakers Monday.
Compliance is strictly voluntary, however. The coalition will provide metal signs for designated areas, as well as educational literature for the public.
Billoni, who spoke at both the afternoon work session and evening meeting, cited a recently completed tobacco use survey of 818 adults in Erie and Niagara counties.
Support of smoke-free policies in public playgrounds came in at 80 percent overall, taking into account the smoking status, race, gender and age of those who responded. Non-smokers were 85 percent in favor and smokers were 79 percent.
The policy targets not only the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke, but also the litter problem caused by discarded cigarette butts. "Used cigarette butts are loaded with toxic chemicals," Billoni said, posing a hazard to children and animals.
"I think this is a great program," Town Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana said at the work session, noting how it continues the lessons youngsters receive in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program taught in schools.
Second Hand Smoke and What It Means To You..
Reference: Tonawanda bans smoking in recreation areas by Janice L. Habuda (firstname.lastname@example.org), The Buffalo News, 5/17/2010.