The last playground in Cardiff to become officially smokefree will be launched by families today as they unveil new signage at the Cardiff Bay Barrage playground.
Families from Flying Start Cardiff, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff Council have come together to unveil the final sign making every playground in Cardiff officially smokefree.
In 2013, tobacco control campaign group ASH Wales Cymru launched a ‘Smokefree Playgrounds Initiative’ where they asked all local authorities across Wales to introduce smokefree playgrounds within their area.
In March 2013, Cardiff Council became the 3rd local authority in Wales, out of 22, to pledge to make all of their children’s playgrounds smokefree areas.
Today’s unveiling of the final sign was the perfect opportunity to celebrate every playground in Cardiff officially becoming smokefree. Families from Flying Start, a Welsh Government-funded programme which supports families with young children from deprived areas, will at the event showing their support.
The smokefree playgrounds campaign empowered children all across Wales to reclaim these spaces, which have been created specifically for them, from this deadly and adult habit. School children designed the signage through local competitions with the winning design being displayed at every playground in the local authority.
Although smoking rates are dropping across Cardiff and the Vale and are currently at 19%, they remain stubbornly high in deprived areas, reaching up to 29%.
Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales Cymru, said: “Smoking in family-friendly areas sends children a message that tobacco is a common part of life rather than a deadly addictive drug.
Alongside this, cigarette butts can take up to 12 years to biodegrade, posing a danger to animals and young children who may ingest them in the meantime. And that’s not even counting the boxes, cellophane, lighters, matches, matchboxes, paper or pouches that also blight our parks and playgrounds and cost money to clean up.
We believe that children and young people have a right to play, meet their friends and take part in sports in a clean, smokefree environment.”
Dr Sharon Hopkins, Director of Public Health at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said, “We are committed to making all playgrounds smoke-free and are pleased that families can enjoy this beautiful spot without the threat of smoke.
The number of people smoking is falling across Cardiff and the Vale, but we know it is still too high in some areas. Having smoke-free playgrounds, homes and hospital grounds are important steps in combating the adverse impact of second-hand smoke. We recognise that smoking is a very difficult habit to kick, which is why there are free support services available at pharmacies and from organisations like Stop Smoking Wales.”