COULD smoking be banned in Wigan’s playgrounds?
Local health officials are considering introducing smoke free playgrounds across the borough.
Smoke Free North West are backing plans for local authorities and NHS Trusts to use the Government’s new Localism Bill to legally enforce the ban on smoking in those areas.
Following America’s zero tolerance policy on smoking, town centre bosses and health chiefs across the country, want to stamp out smoking and make “smoking history for children”.
But Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust who manages Wigan’s parks on behalf of Wigan Council has confirmed that it is still legal and will be for the foreseeable future, to light up in Wigan’s parks.
A spokesman for Ashton, Wigan and Leigh Primary Care Trust, said: “Wigan and Leigh Tobacco Control Alliance are in the very early stages of discussions on the potential to pilot smoke free play areas, possibly in the areas of highest smoking prevalence.
“Any such scheme would be entirely voluntary and would only be taken forward in consultation with the users of the play areas.”
Andrea Crossfield, Director of Smoke Free North West which is funded by all 24 primary care trusts in the region, said: “All local areas in the North West are committed to making smoking history for children.
“Local councils will make their decisions based on the needs of their own local population about the best way to do this. “Smokefree playgrounds do have high levels of support from the public including from the majority of people who smoke.”
Some councils have already introduced voluntary bans on smoking in children’s parks.
Vice-chairman of Friends of Jubilee Park in Ashton, Coun Don Hodgkinson said: “Parks are open spaces and people should be allowed to smoke in them within reason.
“We have enough interference from health advisors, if the smokers wish to ignore this advice, it is their choice.
“I have never smoked but I defend people’s right to smoke if they wish.”
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