SPRINGFIELD TWP.  In an effort to help protect children living or visiting the village of Lakemore and Springfield Township, both communities passed legislation, making parks and sporting facilities smoke-free zones.

The legislation for both communities was approved approximately a year ago. Springfield trustee Dean Young said there are a multitude of reasons for doing so.

"Those that are non-smokers should not be subjected to second hand smoke," he said. "It is not fair that somebody has to tolerate second hand smoke when they are visiting the parks.. Secondly, Young said children recreational areas should be free of smoke, especially playgrounds. Parents who are smokers should not sit there and smoke while they are watching their kids play because there are other kids of non-smokers."

Legislation approved Nov. 6, 2017, for the village and approved for the township on Dec. 14, 2017, states both entities are committed to providing safe and healthy environments for children. The legislation was passed by both communities because exposure to secondhand smoke is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. Exposure to secondhand smoke has negative health impacts and the U.S. Surgeon General has determined there is no risk-free level of exposure to second hand smoke.

Both pieces of legislation prohibit the use of tobacco products and electronic delivery devices in and on recreational areas. The goal is to is to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare.

Smoking is not permitted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in recreational areas, meaning all parks, playgrounds, community gardens and athletic fields controlled by the village or township. It also includes restrooms, spectator and concession areas. It also includes the playground area parking lots and areas directly adjacent to where children are playing.

Smoking is defined as inhaling or exhaling smoke from any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other tobacco or plant product or inhaling or exhaling aerosol or vapor from electronic delivery service. Tobacco products means any product containing, made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, whether chewed, smoked, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed or ingested by any other means, or any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product.

Signage has been posted at the parks and more is going to be posted. Both communities wanted to let residents and visitors to the area aware of the newer smoking policy. The success of the smoking ban relies on the consideration and cooperation of all.

Those found violating the policy will be reminded and asked to comply before being subject to ejection from the recreational area.

"I don’t think it reaches far enough yet," said Lakemore Mayor Rick Justice. "It is a work in progress. If you are not reading the information that is out of smoking and second-hand smoke, you should be. It is dangerous, it is bad for your health and it effects kids and people around you. People don’t have to be subject to that in public places. Your home is different but, in public places with all the information we have available today people shouldn’t be subjected to it at all."

It is a societal change and both Justice and Young pointed out that the banning smoking in public places has been a gradual transition to a healthy lifestyle. It is a strong stance, but the information and health risks are hard to deny, they say. They pointed out that now patrons of restaurants can now breathe, the walls aren’t stained and the restaurants are full.