Cardiff’s first smoke-free playground will be launched this Thursday in a move to protect children from the effects of second-hand smoke.
Cardiff Council and the Cardiff and Vale Public Health Team have joined forces to introduce the new rules at Shelley Gardens in Plasnewydd. It will become smoke-free from 10.30am on Thursday as part of the Tobacco Control Action Plan for Wales.
The playground will feature special signs designed by 10-year-old Albany Primary School pupil Rebecca Ho discouraging people from smoking in the area, and the council hopes that by the end of March there will be a total of six smoke-free playgrounds across Cardiff.
The local authority’s cabinet member for sport, leisure and culture, Councillor Huw Thomas, said: “It is hugely important for children to be able to enjoy fresh air whilst playing in the city’s parks which is why this scheme is so important.
“Park users have a responsibility to respect these rules and ensure that children are protected from the health dangers relating to inhaling second hand cigarette smoke.”
The Welsh Government and anti-smoking charity ASH Wales are encouraging all councils to promote smoke-free playgrounds.
ASH Wales’ chief executive Elen de Lacy said the organisation was delighted that Shelley Gardens is to become a smoke-free playground, and hoped it would be the first step towards banning smoking in all Cardiff playgrounds.
She added: “A recent Yougov survey showed that 79% of the Welsh public now support banning smoking in playgrounds.
“The Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) has confirmed that second hand smoke is a serious public health risk and can cause serious harm to children including respiratory disease; middle ear infections and asthma.
“We believe children and young people have a right to play and to meet their friends in a safe and clean environment free of smoke and tobacco litter. Young people 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 that they gather.”