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Smoke-free parks

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Town of Lancaster
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Westwood Park Gardens, Lancaster, NY

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-906458.mp3

Lancaster, NY – An anti-smoking organization is urging for smoke free parks across the Buffalo Niagara region. The Erie Niagara Tobacco Free Coalition recognized businesses, organizations and individuals working toward tobacco-free policies in the region.

Click the audio player above to hear Eileen Buckley's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

The Coalition gathered at the Westwood Park in Lancaster Tuesday. It is one of the region's smoke free parks. Terry McCracken is with the Lancaster Town Parks department.

"Westwood is the biggest park in the town of Lancaster. We thought it was best to start here," said McCracken.

The voluntary no smoking policy at some area parks is an attempt to keep children from lighting up in the future. Anthony Billoni is with the Tobacco-Free Coalition.

"As many as 90% of people are in favor of smoke-free outdoor space", said Billoni.

A few months ago Orchard Park was the first to expand its indoor smoking ban to the outdoors. Edward Leak is director of recreation in the Town. Leak led the effort.

"By the fact that adults should be acting as role models in a public setting, whether their on a picnic or at a beach, then they should consider not smoking in that setting", said Leak.

Hamburg lawmakers are still considering adopting the voluntary no-smoking policy in their parks. Josh Haieck leads the Village of Hamburg recreation department. He believes it will pass.

"We're still waiting on the public hearing", said Haieck.

Haieck said the overwhelming sediment is that residents are in favor of no smoking at the parks.

Smokers are also urged not to light up at parks in the town of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Orchard Park, Wilson and Alden. But the towns and villages can not enforce the ban.

A few months ago WBFO News asked some smokers about the policy. They said citizens should have the right to decide if they want to smoke outside, not the government.

Lawmakers in Grand Island and Niagara County will also be voting on smoke free parks. Municipalities that don't come on board this season will be targeted by the Coalition next park season.