Caerphilly Council banned smoking in almost 100 play areas across the county after a campaign by the local Youth Forum. Local schoolchildren entered a competition to design the signs to help enforce it and the winning entry was unveiled on July 17th!
Joel Price aged 15, Deputy Representative of the Caerphilly Youth Forum said: “The Youth Forum told the Council it was a real issue that people were smoking in Parks and it was spoiling things for the young people in the borough. They wanted the council to ban smoking in all parks and Children’s Play Areas. The fact that the ban has been agreed is an amazing success for the Youth Forum and a huge success for Caerphilly. The amazement I'm feeling is beyond excitement. Let's hope the rest of Caerphilly respect this and take on board that it will be better for everyone."
Rob Hartshorn, Caerphilly County Borough Council Head of Public Protection, said, “We welcome this decision as smoking continues to be the largest single preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Wales, causing around 5,650 deaths each year. This includes the harm caused to non-smokers who have inhaled second hand smoke. We as a council are trying to encourage young people and children to see non-smoking as the best thing for their health. Erecting signs in play areas across the borough will also encourage parents who smoke to attempt to quit.”
A Freedom of Information request by ASH Wales has revealed that just 2 out of Wales’s 22 local authorities have official policies prohibiting smoking in children’s playgrounds.
Despite pressure from the Welsh Government to reduce the harm caused by second hand smoke to children, only Caerphilly and Powys Councils have extended their smoke-free policy to outdoor areas. A survey by Yougov in 2012 shows that 79% of Welsh adults now believe that smoking should not be allowed in playgrounds, in order to protect children from second hand smoke and litter.