Lima’s tobacco-free parks and spaces on hold

LIMA — The City of Lima has partnered with Activate Allen County and the Allen County Creating Healthy Communities program to combat second-hand smoke. The goal is to create healthier communities. Although tobacco became illegal indoors in 2006, recent studies show second-hand smoke can still have an impact.

In a health assessment completed by the Lima/Allen County Community Health program, 56% of youth reported being exposed to second-hand smoke, and 15% reported use of e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

Lima Mayor Sharetta Smith hopes to address the rate of lung and bronchus cancer in the community.

“Research shows that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure,” Smith said. “Secondhand smoke levels in outdoor public spaces can reach levels as high as those found in indoor facilities where smoke is permitted.”

Smith requested parks and recreational facilities owned by the City of Lima to enforce a smoke-free and vape-free environment.

”Tobacco-free park policies protect the environment by reducing litter, pollution, tobacco product waste and potentially prevent wildfires from happening,” said Josh Unterbrink, co-director of Activate Allen County. “Tobacco product waste contains the same toxins found in tobacco products.”

At Monday evening’s meeting, the city council voted to place the ordinance on second reading for further discussion.

Council Members did pass a resolution to memorialize the late Billie Harnishfeger. The World War II Navy Veteran retired from Norfolk and Western Railroad. In the 1970s and 1980s, Harnishfeger was the 5th Ward councilor in Lima.

Peggy Ehora, 4th Ward councilor, shared condolences to Harnishfeger’s family.

”He served 12 years on council,” Ehora said, “Not a feat for the faint of heart. He had some excitement while on council, and that is what it is all about, someone who has a heart for the city. Hopefully, we will all serve our terms as well as your dad did.”

Towards the end of the meeting, 2nd Ward Council Member Tony Wilkerson encouraged community members.

“I caution those of us who are able drivers to be on the lookout for young children in the mornings,” Wilkerson said. “I also encourage parents to find something reflective on their bookbags so they can be spotted. I also want to share Proverbs 3:27: ‘Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it if it is your power to do so.’”