Demand for smokefree events and spaces with children present is high in Sefton, according to a new survey.
The survey, commissioned by Tobacco Free Futures, found 93% of people in Sefton questioned were supportive of smokefree outdoor events for children and families, with only 5% of people unsupportive.
The survey results have been released as a new campaign, Smokefree Spring, launches in Sefton this week (March 27). The campaign is a new initiative running across Sefton which will see a series of family-friendly events become smokefree to increase the number of healthy family events, and family-friendly public places.
Event organisers across Sefton are being encouraged to join the campaign by making their event smokefree to create a healthy, family friendly space and help children understand that smoking isn’t a normal activity. Event organisers joining the campaign will have access to a wealth of smokefree spring resources including posters, stickers and balloons.
Aleks Fitzpatrick, 24, from Southport who supports smokefree events said: “I don’t smoke, I feel like it sets a bad example for my children to see smoking. It’s bad for their health and I would hate for them to smoke when they get older. People choosing to do so should have designated areas where they can.
“I would love to see smoking restrictions put in place in all areas where children visit, town centres, parks, play areas. I would definitely take my daughter to smokefree events, as I find it most annoying having people smoking by me but especially when I’m with my child.”
Karen Reid, 34, from Bootle who supports smokefree spring said: “I feel more positive going forward into smokefree spaces for my family. Children don’t understand the dangers of smoking, if you smoke they smoke. I don’t like my child seeing me smoking, so I don’t do it in front of him.
“I would rather go to a smokefree event. I would rather spend time with my child than concerning myself on where I can smoke, spending more time with Michael is what the most important thing to me is.”
Matthew Ashton, Sefton Council’s shared Director of Public Health said: “We recognise that there is a high level of support and demand for more smokefree events and spaces in Sefton. We are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco in our communities, especially to children, and want to see more healthy, smokefree family-friendly events in our area that everyone can enjoy. We have this campaign to help increase the number of events we see promoting a smokefree policy and hope that more local organisers change their policies to protect children.”
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures added: “Young people consistently overestimate the prevalence of smoking, with 60% thinking it’s the ‘norm’, when in reality four out of five people don’t smoke in Sefton.
“Smokefree Spring has been created to increase the amount of clean and healthy environments that children and families play in. This isn’t about protecting children from second-hand smoke in outdoor spaces, rather its promoting being healthy to children. The more events that become smokefree, the less likely children are to take up smoking – preventing them from entering into a deadly addiction that kills one in two long-term smokers.”
Smokefree Spring has been co-ordinated by Sefton Council and local social enterprise Tobacco Free Futures. If you want your event to be part of smokefree spring email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are thinking about quitting smoking you can contact your local stop smoking service for free help and support by calling Sefton Support on 0300 100 1000.