Northern Devon play parks become smoke free zones

Torridge District Cllr Betty Boundy with Smoke Free sign

Posted on: 8 March 2016

New ‘smoke free’ signs at play parks in Torridge and North Devon are part of a bid to encourage residents and visitors to stub out smoking where children play.

The eye catching signs designed by children are unveiled in time to mark the national No Smoking Day on Wednesday 9 March at play areas across northern Devon, including Barnstaple, Holsworthy and Torrington, which have adopted a new smokefree code asking that children be allowed to play in a smoke free environment.

Signs will be located at Bicclescombe Park; Bicton Street; East Park Road;  Greenways; Lower Moor; Nadder Meadow;  Oxford Park; Pilton Park; Princess Avenue; Silverwood heights; Slade Valley;  St Georges Road; Town Walk in Barnstaple; Victoria Park in Bideford and Torrington and Holsworthy parks owned by the town councils have all signed up to the new initiative.

A survey conducted recently in the South West found that almost 60% of people said that smoking was a problem in their local play park. 98% of those interviewed said that they would support a voluntary ban on smoking completely in the play parks themselves.

Councillor Betty Boundy, Torridge’s Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “I am delighted that Torridge District Council is supporting this initiative. This is not necessarily about banning smoking, but helping in as many ways as possible to raise awareness of the side effects of smoking and help to protect our children.

“We need to consider not only the negative effects on health but also the positive welfare, social, economic and environmental benefits that come from reducing smoking prevalence.

“I am pleased that we have added Torridge’s name to the many councils across the country that have chosen to actively support this worthwhile campaign.”

Councillor Brian Moores, North Devon Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, said:  “This is a great initiative and one we are proud to support. We all know what a negative impact smoking has on people’s health, and the less often children see people smoking, the less likely they are to want to try it.

“Not only will children be protected from inhaling cigarette smoke in these play areas, there also won’t be any nasty cigarette butts littering the ground they are playing on.”

smoke free signCouncillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, and Chairman of the Devon Health and Wellbeing Board, said:  “This is an excellent local initiative which we’re really pleased to support, in partnership with our District Council colleagues and Public Health Action.

“The new code will ensure that children are not exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke while they’re playing; but it’s also about the message to them about denormalising smoking.

“The role that children have played in producing the signage will resonate with adults and, I hope, make them think about the way smoking is perceived by children.”

Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon Director of Public Health, said: “Research shows that reducing child exposure to smoking decreases the uptake of smoking among young people in the long term.

“Children learn their behaviour from adults and it’s essential that in our communities tobacco use is not seen as part of everyday life.

“For example, children who live with smokers are at least twice as likely to become smokers themselves. We’re working across North Devon in partnership with our neighbouring local authorities and the NHS to protect future generations from taking up the habit.”

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing