Smokefree Summer campaign helps protect children across Cheshire and Merseyside

Published on: Thursday, 15-October-2015

 

  • Smokefree events welcomed to protect children and families
  • Estimated 6,000 people benefited from at least 14 Smokefree Summer events over school holidays in Cheshire and Merseyside
  • 83% of people across Cheshire and Merseyside support smokefree family-friendly events, with only 5% opposed

Smokefree Summer - a campaign that helped turn a series family-friendly events across Cheshire and Merseyside into smokefree zones – has been heralded as a success by both the public and local health professionals.

Many events across Cheshire and Merseyside were smokefree to protect children including:

  • St Helens beach launch (July 23)
  • Northwich family fun day (August 1)
  • Warrington Victoria Park Experience (August 4)
  • Knowsley Feelgood festival (August 8)
  • Wirral Egremont Festival (August 9)
  • Sefton Youth Market (August 12)
  • Queen's Park family fun day in Crewe (August 16)

As well as promoting healthy behaviours to children, the smokefree events will also help to reduce litter and reduce the chances of young children picking up and potentially eating cigarette butts that are toxic.

Demand for smokefree events and spaces with children present is high across Cheshire and Merseyside, with 83% of the public surveyed responding that they are supportive of smokefree outdoor events for children and families, with only 5% opposed.

Support at all of the Smokefree Summer events was high, with members of the public requesting more smokefree events for children and supportive of the campaign.

Local resident Janine Cullen, 33, who attended the Knowsley Feelgood Festival with her daughter Holly who is 6 months old said:

“I’ve really enjoyed the event being smokefree. It’s great for children and grown-ups alike. It’s really important that we start young with children and promote healthy behaviour. The other day my older daughter Sophia had some candy sticks, and she said to me ‘these are my cigarettes mummy’. I was really surprised. No one smokes in my family so she must have learnt it from somewhere. Children are very aware of what’s going on, so smokefree events like this that promote health are great.”

Samantha Skidmore, 39, from Lymm attended the VPX event with her two sons Ben, 6 and Ethan, 3 in Warrington and said:

“It’s great that it’s a smokefree event. I have seen people smoking at events and I don’t wish for children to see it as normal. I would like to see smokefree events at all children’s events. Brighton are trying to create smokefree spaces on the beach. I think that’s great and a positive move and all general public events, shopping centres and outside events would be a great idea to make smokefree. I think smokefree events will make a healthy start for our children not to see it as being normal to smoke as an adult.”

Laura Humphries, 33, who lives in Middlewich and attended the family fit and fun day at Queen’s Park in Crewe with her husband Keith, son Blake, two and daughter Elise, 18 months, said:

“I support smokefree events for children, it’s nice to see. I think it would make a difference to our children. Both of our parents smoke and we have asked them not to smoke near our children, not even in the garden. My son asks what people are doing when he sees them smoking when we are out. I tell him it’s bad for your health and that smoking is why grandad has a bad cough. My daughter has also tried to pick up cigarette butts if she sees them, and that just shouldn’t happen. I would like to see more smokefree events because I really don’t think that children should have to see adults smoking.”

Smokefree Summer was co-ordinated by local social enterprise Tobacco Free Futures which has worked together with the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Collaborative, local authorities and event organisers across Cheshire and Merseyside.

Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley Council and Lead Director of Public Health for Tobacco for Cheshire and Merseyside:

“We are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco in our communities across Cheshire and Merseyside, especially the impact it has on children. There is clearly a high demand for smokefree events which are aimed at children and families and we are always keen to look at new ways that help break the cycle of tobacco addiction which often gets passed on from generation to generation. Less smoking in front of children, and more healthy, community spaces that we can all enjoy together helps everyone.”

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures said:

“Smokefree summer was created to increase the amount of clean and healthy environments that children and families play in; helping children to understand that smoking isn’t a normal activity.

“I’m delighted that the campaign has been so well received which has promoted healthy behaviour to children throughout the summer. The more events that become smokefree in the future, 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.”

If you are thinking about quitting smoking you can contact your local stop smoking service for free help and support by visiting www.nhs.uk/smokefree