Council bid to cut smoking in parks

The childrens' play area in Ryelands Park.
The childrens' play area in Ryelands Park.

City councillors are asking visitors to the district’s play areas to refrain from smoking.

Cabinet members this week agreed to introduce a voluntary code of no smoking within council-owned play areas, skate parks and multi-use play areas.

Signs will be provided in all play areas thanks to funding secured by Lancashire County Council.

Councillors at Tuesday’s meeting were told that nationally, 11 per cent of 15-year-olds are current smokers.

However, the rate among young people in lancashire is higher, with 167 per cent of 14-17-year-olds smoking.

Research has shown that influencing the adult world in which children grow up is pivotal to reducing their rates of smoking uptake.

The implementation of smoke free playgrounds reduces children’s exposure to smoking and de-normalises tobacco use within the community.

In addition it should help reduce the amount of litter from cigarette papers, wrapping and used butts in the play areas.

Coun Karen Leytham said: “It is not enforceable but I think the main thing is to encourage people not to smoke around children.”

And Coun Eileen Blamire said: “It’s about setting an example.”

However, Coun Jon Barry abstained from the vote, saying: “I don’t like smoking but I think this is maybe a step too far.”