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Smoking Prohibited In Paramus Parks, Playgrounds And Recreational Facilities

Contact: John Hopper
Phone: 201-265-2100, Ext. 755

June 29, 2011

PRESS RELEASE

SMOKING PROHIBITED IN PARAMUS PARKS, PLAYGROUNDS AND RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

The Paramus Board of Health has adopted an ordinance prohibiting smoking in Borough parks, playgrounds, public swimming facilities and recreational areas, according to Borough Health Officer John Hopper. The Health Officer advised that the passage of this ordinance will reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and will prevent children from observing and emulating adult behavior which is hazardous to health.

"Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases health risk for smokers and non-smokers alike," Hopper stated. He cited evidence that approximately half of early childhood cases of asthma, chronic bronchitis and wheezing are attributable to second-hand smoke, and that environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of cardiovascular disease in non-smokers.

The ordinance prohibits the smoking of any lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or electronic cigarette within the boundaries of Borough parks, playgrounds, ball fields, the Municipal Pool, the Band Shell and the Paramus Golf Club Mini-Golf Course. The ordinance designates these areas as "smoke free zones," and signs will be put in place to advise residents. Penalties for violation of the ordinance range from a fine of $50 to $100 for a first violation, $100 to $200 for a second violation, and $200 to $500 for a third and subsequent violation.

The Board held a public hearing on the ordinance at its June 27th meeting. At that time, Alan Kantz, Program Manager for New Jersey Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (NJGASP), commended the Board and the Health Officer for their interest in protecting residents from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. "The ordinance will provide healthier air for children, adults and senior citizens, and will also reduce litter in parks," Kantz stated.

An additional purpose of the ordinance is to help prevent children from observing adults smoking. "Children are very impressionable and often attempt to emulate actions and habits of adults", Hopper stated. "Whatever can be done to discourage children from the temptation of experimenting with tobacco products will be of tremendous help in preventing future disease", Hopper said.

The Paramus Board of Health has long been a proponent of anti-tobacco legislation. Previous ordinances passed by the Board include a prohibition of cigarette vending machines and self-service displays, and vigorous enforcement of tobacco age-of-sale regulations.

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