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Voluntary scheme launched to stub-out smoking near children
Tuesday, 02 December 2014
EAST Devon’s public health projects officer Helen Wharam and Health and Wellbeing Champion, Councillor Peter Sullivan, show cigarette butts found in play areas which they hope will become a thing of the past
PLAY areas across East Devon are signing up to a voluntary code asking people not to smoke near children.
In all, 37 play areas will be covered by the new code developed by Smokefree South West and East Devon District Council, using special signs designed by Smokefree South West.
Helen Wharam, the district council’s new public health projects officer, said: “We’re working across East Devon to help protect future generations from the effects of tobacco and from taking up the habit of smoking.
“Children learn from imitating the adults around them, so children who live with smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves. Research suggests that reducing child exposure to smoking decreases the uptake of the habit amongst young people in the long term.”
Launching the scheme at a play area in Littleham, Exmouth, on Thursday, November 20th, Councillor Peter Sullivan, East Devon’s Health and Wellbeing Champion, said: “Our parks help East Devon’s residents live active, healthy lifestyles. We’re proud to be actively discouraging smoking around children in our play areas, helping to reduce the number of young people who smoke and at the same time reducing litter in the parks.”
The new signs are intended as a reminder to parents and others that tobacco causes harm not only to those smoking but also to those around them. Smoking is associated with over 40 diseases, including various cancers, heart diseases, lung diseases, pregnancy complications and other effects such as gum disease.
Children of parents who smoke are more likely to suffer from respiratory symptoms and related infections, glue ear, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma.
A spokesman for Littleham Church of England Primary School said: “We fully support the aims of this project, protecting future generations, raising awareness and ensuring smokefree zones are clear priorities.”
A young pupil from the school who came along to watch as his contemporaries posed for photos with the signs, said: “I think it's a really good idea to ask people not to smoke near play areas. Young children or toddlers could pick up cigarette ends and if children see adults smoking it might encourage them to start.”
The signs are currently being put up in 37 play areas across the district in towns including Axminster, Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth, Honiton, Sidmouth and Seaton.
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