This post is paid advertising by Lebanon Family Health Services.

To say the winter of 2021 has been a challenge would be an understatement. As we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic and a winter that seemed long and dark, the signs of summer have presented us with new found hope. Getting back outdoors is on the summer fun list for many of the residents of our county. We are fortunate to have a rich abundance of natural treasurers and recreation in the Lebanon Valley. More than ever, families are looking to these recreation spots as a healthy and safe refuge. In the past decade, many municipalities, parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities have embraced smoke-free living as a priority and have been providing this to their visitors.

The Young Lungs at Play initiative, administered by Lebanon Family Health Services through a grant from the American Lung Association, assists municipalities, parks and playgrounds to provide tobacco and vape-free recreation. This year, Myerstown Borough became the most recent municipality to join the growing list of Lebanon County Young Lungs at Play participants. “Myerstown Borough has 26.64 acres of land devoted to recreation for the enjoyment of our citizens and visitors,” stated Michael McKenna, Myerstown Borough Manager. “We are grateful to Lebanon Family Health Services for bringing the Young Lungs at Play program to Lebanon County and to Myerstown Borough. We are proud to be a partner and be a part of the growing list of communities that are making an effort to protect the health of both our children and the environment from the dangers of secondhand smoke,” McKenna concluded.

Research shows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, even in an outdoor space. According to the National Survey of Children’s health, Asthma is the most chronic condition among children and the third leading cause for hospitalization. Cigarette smoke is the primary trigger to asthmatic episodes. Furthermore, cigarettes are one of the most-littered items in the world and the leading cause of fire in public spaces.

To date, 65% of Lebanon County Municipalities with outdoor recreation and 6 private recreation sites have recognized the importance of protecting outdoor air quality and joined the Young Lungs at Play initiative. Protecting the lungs of over 85, 000 residents, the Lebanon County honor roll includes:

  • Bethel Township
  • Clarence Shock Memorial Park at Governor Dick
  • Cleona Borough
  • Cornwall Borough
  • Deer Lakes Apartments
  • Hilltop Community Playground
  • H.M. Levitz Memorial Park
  • Jackson Township
  • Jonestown Borough
  • Lebanon City
  • Lebanon Valley Family YMCA
  • Myerstown Borough
  • North Cornwall Township
  • North Lebanon Township
  • Palmyra Borough
  • Richland Borough
  • South 6th Street Playground
  • Swatara Township

Outdoor recreation spots are valuable resources in our community and can play a meaningful role in curtailing many of our lingering health challenges of our time. In addition to protecting the environmental impact of smoking, these sites are taking a step forward in curtailing many of the lingering health problems, including childhood asthma.