4 Things You Can Do Reduce Tobacco Use In Your Community

Young Lungs at Play

Springfield Township is now part of a growing list of 28 Montgomery County community organizations who have joined the Young Lungs at Play program to advocate for tobacco and vape-free public parks, playing fields and playgrounds. This program is intended to help eliminate secondhand smoke exposure at Springfield's public parks, playgrounds, and playing fields and promote healthier lifestyles in our community. 

Because their bodies are still growing, infants and young children are especially vulnerable to health risks from secondhand smoke. Young Lungs at Play, created by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is a program that offers municipalities tools to create outdoor tobacco-free policies at parks, athletic fields, playgrounds, and trails to help protect both children and the environment. Springfield Township has updated Township ordinances to reflect the program mission. 

The Impact of Tobacco Use

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen and the Surgeon General reports that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, a pollutant that causes serious illness in adults and children. Secondhand smoke exposure is a social justice issue since there is a higher likelihood of exposure for children, youth, young adults, racial/ethnic minorities, tenants in multiunit housing, blue collar workers, and employees in the hospitality industry (bars, restaurants, casinos, etc.). Children are at particular risk for asthma, respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease when exposed to tobacco smoke.

Outdoor tobacco use has an environmental impact as well. Cigarettes butts are one of the most littered items in the world. Participating in Young Lungs at Play is an opportunity for organizations to promote the health of their community. Young people seeking to become engaged in community service learning activities, such as completing high school projects or earning Eagle Scout leadership awards are encouraged to promote Young Lungs at Play.

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