09 March 2012>
As national No Smoking Day approaches (14th March) Caerphilly county borough council is considering banning smoking in all its play areas in order to protect the health of local children.
The council's Living Environment Scrutiny Committee will meet on the 20th March to discuss the prospect of adopting a smoke free policy in its parks and playgrounds.
Smoking in enclosed public places has been prohibited in Wales since April 2007, and the council hopes that extending this ban to include children's play areas will promote non-smoking as the social norm.
Rob Hartshorn, CCBC head of public protection, said, "Ill health due to smoking and passive smoking is one of the most preventable health problems that faces people in Wales. We as a council are trying to do our bit to encourage young people and children to see non-smoking as the best thing for their health. Our plans to introduce the ban and erect signs in the play areas will encourage this notion and also encourage parents who smoke to attempt to quit."
The issue of passive smoking in parks has been signalled as a priority by the Caerphilly Youth Forum, who fully support the proposals that promise to ban smoking in all play areas across the borough. Members of the Forum will also attend the meeting to provide their views on the proposal.
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.
Researchers have revealed that since enforcing the ban of smoking in public places in Scotland, the number of premature births in the country has dropped by 10%.
National No Smoking Day will be on Wednesday 14th March. For information on quitting visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk or www.healthchallengecaerphilly.org.uk
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