No smoking signs will go up in parks in spring

Though it has been illegal to smoke at City of Warren playgrounds since October, signage won’t be up until spring.

Warren City Council approved participation in the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Young Lungs at Play program last October.

The Parks and Recreation Commission heard an update on implementation during its meeting on Tuesday.

“We have the signs,” said Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz. “We picked them up a couple months back. We will be putting them up in the spring (when we) delineate where they are going.”

“The resolution that city council passed sort of spelled out the areas, so it is a matter of going back (to determine specific locations),” said City Administrator Mary Ann Nau.

The state program covered the cost of the signs.

While there are no plans to enforce the regulation, council, which was somewhat skeptical of the idea, passed the resolution in a 4-3 vote.

What the program does is provide signage to be installed where children will be found in parks, such as around playgrounds, to mark those areas as tobacco-free zones.

The intent is that the signs serve as a deterrent to tobacco use in the area.

“We over-requested the number of signs that we needed because the program was being phased out,” said Nau.

Commission Chairman Dennis Crandall asked, “How many did we ask for?”

“We got 25,” said Holtz. “We took as many as we could get out of them.”

“It really is unfortunate. This was money the state was getting for the settlement with the tobacco companies,” said Nau. “The tobacco companies took the state of Pennsylvania to task on this (saying) this was not an appropriate use of those funds. (That they were) not for education and prevention. So they canceled the program.”

“We got right under the wire,” she said.