Lititz parks go smoke-free Also, statewide recycling changes coming in January
By: GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
Signs will soon be installed at Lititz’s New Street and Lion’s parks, designating those areas as tobacco-free zones.
However, because there is no official law in place and policing cigarette smokers is deemed not enforceable, the smoke-free rule will be a matter of voluntary compliance.
The decision made during borough council’s Sept. 25 meeting, and it is supported by the Health Promotion Council and funded through a grant from the PA Department of Health.
Locally, representatives from Lancaster General Health, including health educator Sue Lackmann, have been a driving force to build both awareness and community support for a program that remains largely unenforceable, legally.
Borough council members are supportive of the concept of smoke-free parks, but have grappled with compliance being voluntary among those visiting such locations.
"The police won’t get involved," said Lititz Police Chief William Seace. "Underage smoking, however, is enforceable."
Seace said he hopes adults use good sense when they are among children in playground areas. Meanwhile, local police have and will continue to enforce the existing underage smoking law. Anyone under age 18 caught smoking can be fined $50.
Council members seemed to agree that the voluntary compliance measure for adults is mostly a "feel good" thing, but uniformly agreed that with statistics showing an increase in smoking among youth, this might help. And by their vote, they agreed that it was worth a shot.
Signs which will be posted are being provided to the borough at no charge, and include an 800-number for assistance with local smoking cessation programs.
In literature presented to council, it was stressed that children will learn smoking behavior from adults much in the same way they learn how to walk, talk and play sports. It also pointed out that the poisonous effects of tobacco use are hardly limited to second-hand smoke, which has been shown to be just as harmful even with brief exposure. The resolution passed by council cited 50,000 deaths among non-smokers due to second-hand smoke each year. In addition, 80 percent of smokers started smoking before the age of 18, with the average age of initiation being 12 years old. It states that 3,900 young people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette each day, with one-third of these children dying prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses.
"I am not a smoker and I get this, but what’s next, the big soft drink thing in New York City?" questioned council member Shane Weaver. "I think it’s no huge issue if it is voluntary compliance."
The Lititz Springs Park Board and the Lititz recCenter are already smoke-free recreation facilities.
"It is definitely a feel-good motion," added council member Doug Bomberger.
In other borough business:
Council was advised on statewide changes to the recycling program which will go into effect on January 24, 2013 which will change how old televisions, monitors and a wide range of electronic products are disposed of.
Pennsylvania passed a law called the Covered Devices Recycling Act which prohibits residents from disposing of covered devices as trash. Once in effect, residents and businesses may no longer place these items at the curb or throw them away as trash. They must be recycled and trash haulers will no longer be allowed to collect these items as municipal waste.
Covered devices are items such as desktop computers, laptops, monitors, computer peripherals (keyboard, mouse, printer and speakers), televisions, and e-readers that browse the Internet.
The Covered Devices Recycling Act does NOT include cell phones, motor vehicle components, appliance components or items such as hand-held calculators, PDA’s, MP3 players or similar devices.
While such covered devises will need to be recycled at Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Facility located at 1299 Harrisburg Pike in Lancaster, the new rule prohibits manufacturers and retailers from charging customers a fee for accepting such devices. A maximum of 10 units per visit will be accepted. For additional information on the new law and other recycling locations, please visit www.lcswma.org or www.Earth911.com.
"This will certainly take some getting used to for residents," commented council President Karen Weibel. "I suspect there will be an increase in lonely computer monitors along the curbs leading up to January 24th."
Also, a representative from borough council and the Lititz Police Department have agreed to look into one resident’s concerns about pedestrian traffic being blocked by patrons on sidewalks in front of various local businesses, especially during peak business hours or during 2nd Friday. Members agreed to review zoning and other ordinances on the books and follow up with business owners to see what remedy could be worked out. More BOROUGH COUNCIL, page A17