Three Devon play parks go ‘smoke free’
Three play areas in Teignbridge have become ‘smoke free’ zones in a bid to encourage residents and visitors to stub out smoking where children play.
Play areas at The Den, Teignmouth, Courtenay Park and Decoy Country Park, both in Newton Abbot, have become the first in Devon to trial a new smokefree code which asks that children be allowed to play in a smoke free environment.
The code has been developed by Smokefree South West in partnership with Teignbridge District Council and eye-catching signs have been put up at each play area to raise awareness and allow children to play in smoke-free fresh air.
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.
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Cllr George Gribble, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Spokesperson for Communities, Recreation and Leisure, said:
“We’re committed to the role our parks play in helping Teignbridge residents’ live active, healthy lifestyles. We’re especially proud to be leading the way in discouraging smoking around children in our play areas, helping to reduce the number of young people from Teignbridge who smoke and reduce litter in the park.
“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 Teignbridge in partnership with our neighbouring local authorities and the NHS to protect future generations from taking up the habit.”
The sign-up comes just before the second annual Stoptober campaign gets underway. The 28-day national stop smoking challenge runs throughout October. People can register to receive a range of free support including stop smoking packs, a 28-day Stoptober App with daily updates and quitting advice, detailed tools and tips for coping, as well as the encouragement and support from thousands of people going through the same thing.
Teignbridge is doing its bit by encouraging staff and residents to give up for good. A dedicated Stoptober page has been created on the council’s website and posters are being put up around council-owned leisure centres - Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, Broadmeadow Sports Centre and Dawlish Leisure Centre – so people know where they can get help.
Cllr Sylvia Russell, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Spokesperson for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“Signing up to this code is just another way in which we are doing our bit to help protect children, keep people active and support people who want to quit smoking. All three parks are award-winning Green Flag parks so what better places to start? Our work is about making Teignbridge an even better place to play, work and enjoy. This will continue right throughout the year and with Stoptober just about to get underway, there is no better time for people to give up smoking.”
The sign-up is backed by the Devon Health and Wellbeing Board which was established when Public Health transferred to Devon County Council this year.
Councillor 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 Teignbridge.
“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.”
For more information and to join the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search ‘Stoptober’ online or visit www.teignbridge.gov.uk/stoptober alternatively visit: smokefree.nhs.uk/Stoptober