ASH Wales welcomes the report released today by the London Health Commission recommending that open spaces in London, including parks and public squares, should become smokefree. The organisation is now calling for the same in Wales.

In 2013 ASH Wales led the way with its successful Smokefree Playgrounds campaign which saw all 22 local authorities in Wales committing to make children’s playgrounds smokefree. Earlier this year the organisation launched a new smokefree spaces campaign, #SharetheAir, which aims to make spaces where young people meet, play and exercise smokefree across Wales.

Elen de Lacy, Chief Executive of ASH Wales, said, “We are pleased to see authorities in London committed to smokefree spaces. Wales should be leading the way and expanding on the successful smokefree playgrounds initiative to include other spaces used by young people. There is overwhelming public support for smokefree spaces in Wales, with nearly three quarters of Welsh adults in support of smokefree children’s play areas. The time is now to make our outdoor leisure spaces smokefree.”

Research shows that second-hand smoke exposure is damaging to long-term health, particularly in children whose lungs are smaller and therefore take in more smoke relative to their size. Young people watch adults smoking in parks and outdoor spaces and see this as a normal activity. Smoking is actually a deadly, addictive habit so it is important to denormalise smoking and make sure today’s children do not become tomorrow’s long-term smokers.

ASH Wales is calling on all local authorities in Wales to act now and implement smokefree spaces across Wales.