Council launches campaign to keep Sheffield playgrounds free of smoking

High Hazels Park launch of the No Smoking in Parks policy by Sheffield Council
Olivia Hepworth and Cllr Mary Lea with the new signs

High Hazels Park launch of the No Smoking in Parks policy by Sheffield Council Olivia Hepworth and Cllr Mary Lea with the new signs

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Sheffield Council has launched a campaign to make the city’s 152 playgrounds smoke free.

Councillors hope that by making smoke-free zones the norm, fewer children will take up the habit.

Signs asking people not to smoke or use e-cigarettes have been put up at every one of the city’s playgrounds.

Cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure Mary Lea said: “It’s another tool in the box to help people stop smoking, to protect children and try to get them away from starting to smoke.”

Speaking at High Hazels Park in Darnall, Coun Lea said children were more likely to smoke if their parents did, and if it was part of their normal social life.

“A playground is a typical place where adults come with children,” she said. “There are plenty of places to smoke, but let’s keep playgrounds for children.”

The inclusion of e-cigarettes was made in part because of the way they are marketed, with sweet flavours such as bubblegum seeming to target young people.

Coun Lea said: “It’s said to be quite safe, but it’s still perhaps a pathway into cigarettes. They are banned in public spaces so let’s ban them from playgrounds as well.”

Parent Emma Siddall, aged 34, from Handsworth, was at the park with her 10-year-old nephew and three-year-old son. She approved of the campaign.

Emma said: “I think it’s a really good idea and should be brought into force.

“I remember when I was younger, people smoking at the pictures and in pubs. The ban was a big shock, but it’s so much better now. You come home and you don’t stink of smoke.

“In parks, you don’t want your kids to be picking cigarette butts up.”

Emma agreed with the council’s decision to target e-cigarettes. She said: “You see so many young kids with them. You’ve got flavours like bubblegum and vanilla – they are aimed at children.”

Sylvia Hamilton, of the Friends of High Hazels Park, also gave her backing to the scheme. She said smoking in the playground was a problem there.

“I think it’s a good policy. It might be difficult to enforce but I hope that like smoking in other public places it will gradually become the norm. Then people are more aware of other people when they are smoking.

“We know the effects it has on health. We know the problems.”