Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to bring in a new voluntary code to make outdoor children’s play areas smoke-free zones.
The decision follows a recent consultation in which 85% of respondents agreed that a new voluntary code should be brought in within council owned play areas, skate parks and multi-use play areas.
Councillor Karen Leytham, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health and housing, said: “Children become aware of cigarettes at an early age, with three out of four children being aware of cigarettes before the age of five, irrespective of whether their parents smoke or not.
“If young people see smoking as part of everyday life they are more likely to become smokers themselves.
“By bringing in this new code we are encouraging people to help to reduce childhood exposure to smoking and decrease the number of young people starting to smoke.”
The decision to implement a voluntary smokefree code has been taken as any extension or amendment to the smokefree legislation for public places and worksites under the Health Act 2006 can only be legally undertaken at national level.
In addition, a voluntary code of practice empowers communities to change their smoking behaviour and supports self-regulation.
Consultation into the proposals was carried out in a six week period in October and November. Of the 80 people who responded to the question “I would be in favour of a voluntary code of not smoking within play areas”, 68 agreed, nine disagreed and three were not sure.
The voluntary code has been developed in partnership with Lancashire County Council, who will also be providing signage for each play area via its Public Health Team.
Other districts in Lancashire are also being asked to sign up to the code and signage will be erected once each has made a decision. This is likely to be some time in the spring.