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Smokers are being asked to keep their habit away from the gates of every primary school in Bridgend as they are declared no smoking zones.

Garth Primary School will officially launch the initiative today (Tuesday 14th February), with all primary schools across the county following suit. Bridgend is the latest local authority in Wales to join the ASH Wales’s campaign to make all primary school gates smokefree zones.

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Research shows young people are highly influenced by others smoking around them - those with a parent who smokes are 70% more likely to take up the habit.

Smokefree areas also protect from second-hand smoke whilst ‘denormalising’ the deadly habit. Almost half of long-term smokers begin smoking before leaving high school and among children who try smoking around a third become regular smokers within 3 years.

Tobacco control charity, ASH Wales Cymru, has been lobbying schools across Wales to ban smoking at their gates and has produced guidelines and signage to support schools wanting to take part.

Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales Cymru, said: “Smoking in areas which are created specifically for our young people sends them the completely incorrect message that tobacco is a harmless part of everyday life rather than a deadly and addictive drug. It is essential we set positive examples wherever we can – we do not want our country’s next generation to be the tobacco industry’s next customers.”

Suzanne continued, “We believe children and young people have a right to get an education, play and meet their friends in a clean, smokefree environment. Banning smoking at playgrounds and now school gates is a huge step in the right direction.”

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Julie Thomas, Head Teacher of Garth Primary School, said: “We were delighted to have been asked to host the launch of the ‘Smoke Free School Gates’ initiative on behalf of Bridgend schools.”

“At Garth Primary School, we are passionate about improving the health and well-being of our pupils. As a ‘Rights Respecting’ school, we recognise that is our responsibility to ensure that children are protected from harm. The campaign will support us in our endeavours to develop resilient, informed and confident young citizens.”