HR Strange But True!
March 24, 2009

Rodale, the Pennsylvania publisher of Prevention, Running, and Men's Health magazines, was one of the first employers to ban smoking from its property. Employees who did smoke found a refuge in a local park, but now the borough of Emmaus wants the alleged littering puffers out.

According to an article in the Allentown Morning Call, the health-conscious publisher banned indoor smoking in the 1960s. When it banned smoking from its property in 2008, smokers walked across the street to Furnace Dam Park for their breaks.

However, the article states that the town began receiving complaints from park goers that the smokers have also been leaving cigarette butts and other smoking debris scattered on the ground (something that the company's publication Organic Gardening probably wouldn't approve of) and puffing away in front of small children playing in the park.

So, the Emmaus Borough Council voted 5 to 2 to send a letter to the health-conscious publisher asking it to find a place on its property for smokers to gather. An email this past summer from the Council, asking Rodale employees to use canisters placed in the park for their butts was communicated to workers. Unfortunately, the cans ended up in the pond-- mischievous children the likely culprits, a borough official told the newspaper.

After the new vote, one councilman noted that while local hospitals discourage the habit, they do have designated outdoor areas for smokers. A dissenting council member praised Rodale for banning smoking and providing cessation programs for employees.

The publisher's corporate website states it “encourages our employees to lead the kinds of healthy, fulfilling, and balanced lives that we feature in our products.” Rodale spokesperson Robin Shallow told the newspaper the company has not received direct communication from the Council, but “will cooperate in any way we can.” Several town officials feel the matter should be handled by the town, not by Rodale.

The Council had considered banning smoking on all borough property, but tabled it pending state legislation.

Source: Allentown Morning Call

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