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Smoke free children's play areas

A proposal to ask smokers to stop lighting up in children's play areas in Boston has received overwhelming backing following a consultation exercise undertaken by Boston Borough Council and supported by partners of the Smokefree Lincs Alliance.

Findings from the consultation report show 96% of the responses to the countywide survey were supportive, with a slightly higher proportion (98%) in favour of a voluntary ban at Boston play areas. A total of 372 responded countywide (112 in Boston).

Boston residents identified the following main benefits from smoke free play areas: Children's health (93%), cleaner, safer environment (86%), discourages smoking (52%) and less tobacco litter (66%).

Smoking is the leading cause of ill-health and preventable deaths in the UK with smoking prevalence in Boston much higher than the Lincolnshire average.

Children are a vulnerable group and learn their behaviour from adults. They become aware of smoking at an early age; three out of four children are aware of cigarettes before they reach five years old.

If children see smoking as a normal part of everyday life they are more likely to become smokers themselves. Smoking is a childhood addiction with most young people trying their first cigarette at 13 years old or younger.

Initiatives, such as smoke free play areas can help to de-normalise smoking and reduce the risk of exposure to second hand smoke.

Many areas nationally are creating smoke free play areas using voluntary codes. Locally the borough council has been allocated funding to pilot this initiative at Central Park and Woodville Road. Local schools will now be invited to work on designs for signage highlighting the voluntary ban within the enclosed play areas.