Local children ask – ‘keep our play parks smoke free’

18/07/2019, PR-9121

Tommy with his winning design
Tommy with his winning design

​Local children from Glasshoughton Infant Academy are asking people to keep their play parks smoke free this summer.

Schools in the district have teamed up with the Council to launch the next phase in the campaign to help protect the district's children from the harmful effects of smoking.

'Smoke Free Parks' supports the regional Breathe 2025 campaign, designed to ensure that children grow up in a place of clean air and bright futures.

Smoking rates in Wakefield continue to remain high compared to the national and regional averages. The overall smoking rate for the district is 19.3% (2018) compared to the England average of 14.4% and 16.7% for Yorkshire and the Humber. However, there has been good progress in reducing smoking rates, thanks to local and national initiatives.

The Council's Public Health team have been working closely with the school council and children at Glasshoughton Infant Academy. Earlier this year, the children discussed the harm caused by smoking and designed a range of posters to discourage people from smoking in public.

The winning design for 'Smoke Free Parks' was created by Tommy Price, aged five and will be used to create signs to go on display in play parks. The first sign has been installed at Smawthorne Park near to the school and the Council hopes to roll out the signage across all play parks during the summer.

Cllr Faith Heptinstall
Cllr Faith Heptinstall

Cllr Faith Heptinstall, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: "It has been great to involve the children from Glasshoughton Infant Academy in our 'Smoke Free Parks' campaign, to ensure that children across our district make good choices when it comes to their health.

"By educating young people on the dangers of smoking and providing them with smoke-free places to enjoy, this will hopefully ensure they make good choices as adults as well."

Young people are most at risk of becoming smokers if they grow up in a world where smoking is the norm or accepted. Children of smokers are three times more likely to smoke than children of non-smokers. Smoking prevalence at age 15 in Wakefield is 8.2% which is the same as the England average and compares to 8.7% for Yorkshire and the Humber.

Breathe 2025 is a regional campaign aimed at de-normalising smoking among young people. The Breathe 2025 vision is to see the next generation of children born and raised in a place free from tobacco, where smoking is unusual. Please visit www.breathe2025.org.uk/

If you need help and advice on how to quit smoking, please visit https://wakefield.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk/ or call 0800 6120011 (free from landlines) or 0330 6601166 (free from mobiles).