Boston Playgrounds Post No-Smoking Signs 29338

More than 100 playgrounds across the city of Boston are about to receive signs prohibiting smoking on the grounds.  The signs read, "Children at Play, No Smoking," and they are intended, The Boston Globe reports, to protect children from the harmful effects of second hand smoke, including asthma attacks, respiratory infections, lung cancer, and heart disease.

The signs are not legally binding; there are no new laws or city ordinances that prohibit smoking at playgrounds.  But Boston's mayor says the signs will empower parents to keep smokers at a distance from play areas.

"I know that nothing we put on the law books could be as strong as a parent who is trying to protect their kids from secondhand smoke and cigarette debris,'' Mayor Thomas M. Menino said.

Similar initiatives are under way in 570 countries nationwide, the Globe reported.

Boston's Public Health Commission cited studies suggesting that sitting outdoors a mere 3 feet from a smoker can expose a child to the same amount of second-hand smoke as sitting indoors in the same room with someone who is smoking.  Other studies reported incidents of children being burned because lit cigarettes are held at a child's eye level while they are running around a playground.

(image via Pal Marsh)