Potters Bar children encourage people not to smoke in playgrounds
PUBLISHED: 09:50 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:50 20 April 2017
Children in Potters Bar are taking back their play areas this summer by saying ‘no’ to people smoking in them.
Young people aged 11 or under and who live or go to school in the Hertsmere borough are invited to take part in a competition to design a poster promoting a voluntary smoking ban across all Hertsmere Borough Council-owned parks.
To allow more young people to take part, the deadline has been extended until Tuesday, May 2.
The competition winner’s poster will appear in parks across the borough with contact details for the Hertfordshire Stop Smoking Service.
Hopes are the initiative, led by the council and supported by the Hertsmere Health and Wellbeing Partnership and NHS Hertfordshire, will discourage people from lighting up where children may be affected.
Breathing in second-hand smoke is particularly harmful for children.
It can cause an increased risk of asthma, meningitis, respiratory conditions like bronchitis, coughs and colds, and cot death.
Hilary Shade, head of partnerships and community engagement, said: “Our play areas are important places for children to enjoy themselves and get some exercise, which is why it’s vital they stay free of cigarette fumes.
“The smoking ban is voluntary, so though our officers won’t be enforcing it, we hope it will remind mums, dads and other adults, of the negative impact of smoking on their health and the health of their children.
“We also hope it will encourage people to take pride in their neighbourhood.
“Discarded cigarette butts can make an area look untidy and unloved.
“We need people to help us keep Hertsmere beautiful, healthy and thriving.”
The winner of the poster competition will receive a copy of their design and a family ticket to Willows Activity Farm in London Colney.
Hertfordshire County Council is raising awareness of the benefits of e-cigarettes, which are 95 per cent safer than smoking tobacco, cheaper than conventional cigarettes and twice as effective at helping people stop smoking as over the counter nicotine replacements.
Smoking is still the leading cause of death and disability in Hertfordshire, with around 1,500 smoking-related deaths in 2015 and estimated costs to the local economy of £288 million.
For information about how Hertfordshire’s Stop Smoking Service can help you stop or reduce smoking, including advice about e-cigarettes, text SMOKEFREE to 80818, call 0800 389 3 998 or visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/stopsmoking