A VOLUNTARY smoke-free scheme is now being introduced in Wigan’s public parks.
The ‘Play Smoke free’ being established by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust with the support of the borough’s Tobacco Control Alliance (TCA) aims to reduce the number of young people exposed to second hand smoke and discourage them from taking up smoking in the future.
There will be 112 Wigan Borough play areas covered by the code, and all will feature a sign, designed by Keegan Moran from the 12th Wigan Boys’ Brigade, asking people not to smoke there.
Children who live with parents or siblings who smoke are up to three times more likely to become smokers themselves than children of non-smoking households according to the Royal College of Physicians.
Nationally, around 340,000 children under the age of 16 in the UK try cigarettes for the first time each year and smoking accounts for 500 – 600 deaths per year in the borough.
Stuart Murray, Chief Executive of WLCT, said: “We are very happy to support this campaign aimed at keeping the borough’s young residents healthy, and I hope that visitors to play areas choose to follow the no smoking code.
“This is part of a number of initiatives by the TCA to discourage young people from starting to smoke and reduce exposure to second hand smoke.”