Smoke-free play areas - but there’s no ban

Councillor Simon Young is spearheading the campaign
Councillor Simon Young is spearheading the campaign

An initiative is being launched to encourage people not to smoke in playgrounds across the borough.

While Calderdale Council’s Cabinet stopped short of a full ban which would make it a punishable offence, it passed a recommendation to designate all council-owned play areas as smoke free and to promote this through a voluntary code and self-enforcement.

According to a report to the Cabinet “there would be no enforcement action, signs can discourage smoking, help people to challenge someone who lights up in a play area and point those who want to quit to services that can help them”.

The council says it is committed to reducing smoking prevalence in Calderdale and is looking at innovative ways to raise the profile of the harm caused by smoking to our communities.

A consultation was launched in January to get local views about the issue. Almost 1,000 people took part, with 90 per cent agreeing with the idea.

In addition to the health benefits of introducing smoke free playgrounds, it’s hoped the proposed scheme will contribute to reducing litter in the borough.

The council spends approximately £1.6 million every year on maintaining public open spaces, with cigarette butts taking up to 12 years to biodegrade and posing a danger to children and animals.

Councillor Simon Young, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for public health, wellbeing and engagement, said: “Children and young people deserve to be protected from the influence and dangers of second hand smoke and children’s playgrounds are key areas, as this is where many spend their time.”

The next step is now to develop and install smoke free signs and a competition is to be launched in schools across the borough to design these signs.

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