To mark No Smoking Day today (Wednesday 8 March), a poster competition has been launched urging people to keep Hertsmere's play areas smoke free.
Young people aged 11 or under and who live or go to school in Hertsmere are invited to take part in a competition to design a poster promoting a voluntary smoking ban across all Hertsmere Borough Council-owned parks.
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.
Councillor Brenda Batten, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Health, 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.”
Fiona Hill, Deputy Cabinet Member for Public Health, Localism and Libraries at Hertfordshire County Council, said: "Children learn behaviour from adults and are three times more likely to take up smoking themselves if they grow up in a smoking household.
"By reducing their exposure to smoking and adult smokers as role models, we will be able to protect our children's health and let them play outside in a healthy smoke free environment."
The winner of the poster competition will receive a copy of their design and a family ticket to Willows Activity Farm in London Colney.
As part of No Smoking Day, 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, please text SMOKEFREE to 80818, call 0800 389 3 998 or visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/stopsmoking
Posted on Wednesday 8th March 2017