Ahead of tomorrow’s National No Smoking Day (12 March) Rochdale Borough Council is asking smokers to stop lighting up their cigarettes in all the area’s playgrounds in a bid to reduce children’s exposure to second hand smoke.
The installation of the first smoke free play area sign at Heywood’s Queens Park was attended by His Worship The Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Peter Rush, Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Public Health Officer Ruth Bardsley, Senior Health Information Officer Jacqui Evans and Walter Lomax, chair of the Friends of Queen’s Park.
Councillor Beswick, Cabinet Member for Place and Regulation, said: "It is excellent news that the Council is taking a stand to encourage adults not to smoke in areas where children are playing, in recognition of the impact their smoking can have on our children.
“The borough’s children and young people have a right to play and meet with their friends in a clean environment, free from the dangers of second hand smoke and also cigarette litter.”
The smoke-free playgrounds scheme is being introduced across the borough’s 54 fenced and partially-fenced play areas to ensure children can enjoy playing outside in areas that are free from tobacco smoke and not littered with cigarette butts. It is hoped that the initiative will also help prevent young people from starting smoking by de-normalising the addiction, as well as making children's playgrounds a nicer and cleaner place for families to visit.
At a meeting of the Children’s Primary School Council in September 2011 attended by 60 representatives of all primary schools, the youngsters unanimously agreed that they would like for there to be no smoking in playgrounds within the borough. Consultation has taken place with pupils who attend the High School Council meetings, who also proposed playgrounds should be free from swearing and anti-social behaviour.
The remaining smoke-free play area signs will be placed in play areas throughout the borough within the next few weeks.
Rochdale Council also has a smoke-free homes project where householders can pledge their home is smoke-free. If a householder would like to make a smoke-free homes pledge, or would like to know more about the project, please visit our website to download the smoke-free homes form at www.rochdale.gov.uk/pdf/SmokeFreeLeaflet2013.pdf or contact Jacqui Evans on 01706 924106.
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