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Louisville goes smoke free at its parks and playgrounds

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LOUISVILLE — The Town Council voted to adopt a smoke-free policy at its parks and recreational facilities.

One selling point for the policy was simply that the change is coming as a policy, not a law.

“There’s no enforcement angle to this,” said Benjamin R. Todd, St. Lawrence County Tobacco Free Coalition program director. “We’re not going to make Dewey the smoke police,” he said, referring to arena supervisor Dewey I. LaValley.

Mr. Todd noted the resolution he presented to the board was the same one adopted by Massena, Waddington, Madrid and several other communities in St. Lawrence County.

“Tobacco use is not allowed in Louisville parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas. It is the intent of the town of Louisville, in enacting this policy, to provide for public health, safety, and welfare by protecting the public and the environment from tobacco-related litter; by discouraging the inherently dangerous behavior of tobacco use around non-tobacco users, especially children; by protecting the public from exposure to secondhand smoke where they play, exercise, and relax; by reducing the potential for children to wrongly associate tobacco use with a healthy lifestyle and by affirming and promoting a healthy environment in and around our recreational areas,” the policy reads.

Mr. Todd said his agency orders no-smoking signs in bulk and the signs that will be on display in Louisville are identical to those in other communities. “It’s self-enforcing,” he said. “You just put up the signs and for the most part people see the signs and obey them.”

Mr. Todd said 90 percent of smokers start smoking between the ages of 12 and 18.

“If we can prevent them from getting started as kids, then it is very likely they will never get started,” he said. “It’s more addictive than heroin or cocaine, but since it’s legal, it’s not seen in the same light.”

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