Protecting your children from harm is one of the biggest responsibilities a parent faces. Whilst it may be difficult, the best way to protect your child from passive smoke is not to smoke in front of them.
This will also help ensure children don’t become addicted themselves as research shows that most people start smoking during childhood, with 90% of smokers starting before the age of 19.
With this in mind, Tameside Council and Tameside and Glossop NHS, have launched a new health and wellbeing campaign to encourage smokers to move away from children and protect them from seeing adults smoking. In particular, people are being asked not to smoke at the school gates and in parks and play areas.
The economic benefits of discouraging smoking around children include a reduction in cigarette litter, which is estimated to cost Tameside £1.6m a year. There is also, in the longer term, savings to be made because of increased productivity and better health: it’s estimated that each year smoking costs the borough £66million because of ill-health and early death.
Primary school children have been involved in creating posters to promote the smoke free message and the winning design – by Hannah Sanderson of Hurst Knoll School – will be displayed at schools gates and play areas across the borough. I hope that all parents, indeed all smokers – will join together in supporting this voluntary ban to help protect children and keep their environment safe.