PLAYGROUNDS in Torfaen are to become smoke-free, after a campaign by Torfaen Young People’s Forum.
Forum members are celebrating No Smoking Day today with the news that all 42 playgrounds will be smoke-free, following support from the local authority.
Made up of young people aged 11 to 25, it has been calling for a ban on smoking in playgrounds since learning that 14,000 children start smoking every year in Wales, and 15 people in the country die every day from a smoking related disease.
It carried out a survey of young people in Torfaen and an overwhelming 136 of the 145 who responded said they thought a ban was a good idea.
A representative of the forum said: “It will help to protect children from harmful second-hand smoke and also cut down on the amount of litter dropped.
“Most importantly we hope it will send a message to young people that smoking is not a harmless activity and can have a serious effect on your health.”
Councillor John Cunningham, Torfaen’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “We know children are at particular risk from second-hand smoke and that they are also more likely to start smoking themselves if they see adults doing it in a family friendly environment. It is vital that we de-normalise smoking to reduce the rates of young people taking it up and also reduce their exposure to smoke in areas where they gather.
“The young people’s forum made a very strong case for smoking to be banned in playgrounds and they must be applauded for their hard work.”
The forum has also been working with schools on a competition to design a no-smoking poster. The winner will see their design go up in playgrounds across Torfaen.