PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – First, it was bars and restaurants; now, pools, playgrounds, and recreational centers are being put in Philadelphia’s no-smoking zone.
Saying secondhand smoke is a real drag for kids and others who use the city’s outdoor and indoor recreational facilities, Mayor Nutter’s executive order makes those places cigarette-free — just in time for summer.
“Just seems like every part of the world is saying no don’t smoke here,” says Sharmin Knight, taking a smoke break outside of her Center City office.
The city recently added public recreation centers, playgrounds, and pools to the list of places you cannot smoke. The goal is to keep kids away from second hand smoke and prevent them from seeing adults smoking.
“Get smoke away from children and people in parks,” says Brent Nitz, himself a smoker. “They don’t need it.”
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Youth smoking is a major problem in Philadelphia. A Department of Public Health study conducted last year found 1 in 14 high school students smokes every day. And half of high school students have experimented with smoking. Last year, the city issued more than 2,500 tickets to tobacco stores selling to underage teens.
Giridhar Mallya is director of planning and policy for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
“When kids see adults smoking, they tend to perceive it as safer and maybe more acceptable than it actually is. That’s one of the main reasons we want to put this policy in place.”
To get the word out, he says they’re posting signs and handing out wallet cards at the more than 200 pools, rec centers, ball fields, and even parking lots at those places. And because they’re making it harder to smoke, he says they’re making it easier to quit — with more free counseling and nicotine replacement therapy available through http://www.smokefreephilly.org.
Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio; Oren Lieberman, CBS 3