Swansea Council today (Thursday 3rd November) launched a ban on smoking at its school gates, covering every primary school in the area.
Sea View Community Primary was the first to officially declare its school gates a no smoking zone as part of a drive to make Swansea a healthier city for all. Every primary school across the county will follow suit and implement the voluntary ban throughout November.
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 and two thirds of adult smokers took up the habit before they left their teenage years.
To coincide with Swansea’s smokefree school gates launch, tobacco control campaign group ASH Wales Cymru has created a supportive toolkit and competition to enable other local authorities and schools across Wales to get involved with the health initiative.
The toolkit provides a guide for schools on how to make their gates no smoking zones. Smokefree areas protect children’s young, developing lungs from the harms of second-hand smoke whilst denormalising this deadly habit. They also help to improve litter levels and the local environment.
The competition, which is open to all primary schools in Wales, is asking pupils to create a poem or poster about why they want their school gates to be a no smoking area. The winning entries will be published in a mini-book.
Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales Cymru said, “Smoking in areas which are created specifically for children 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 that 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.”