Partnership in North-East Wales implements different smokefree areas several years running

An innovative health partnership in Wrexham has launched various smokefree initiatives over a number of years, helping influence positive behaviours and improving health in North-East Wales.  

Ty Mawr Country park 

Ty Mawr Country park: site where smoke free playgrounds initiative in Wrexham launched 

Smoke Free Wrexham has been leading smoking-related policies in Wrexham for a number of years. Meeting every three months, the partnership has a specific focus on preventing young people from starting to smoke, helping people quit and creating more smokefree environments.

The partnership includes a range of health, third sector and voluntary organisations including: Wrexham County Borough Council’s Partnerships, Trading Standards, Communities First and Healthy Schools teams, North Wales Fire & Rescue, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), Stop Smoking Wales, Public Health Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales and  the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW).

The most recent programme Smoke Free Wrexham introduced was smokefree bus shelters. Large bus termini were already free of smoke as they came under the 2007 legislation which ended smoking in enclosed and substantially enclosed public places. The same did not apply to regular bus shelters, however, and Wrexham Council’s Trading Standards team had received some complaints around people smoking in these relatively tight enclosed spaces. 

Smoke Free Wrexham agreed that bus shelters should become smokefree areas and implemented a voluntary ban in May 2016. Signs were put up in all of the authority’s bus shelters, in both English and Welsh, which also included an interactive ‘QR code’ and contact information signposting people to cessation services through Stop Smoking Wales and pharmacies.

Smoke free Wrexham thought that this was important so it wasn’t just a punitive measure but one that could also help people access services to help them quit.

Prior to smokefree bus shelters, the previous year saw Smoke Free Wrexham introduce a voluntary smoking ban at the gates of every primary school across the local authority.

The idea behind making school gates smokefree was not only to help prevent young people from starting to smoke, but also to address parental smoking and promote the idea of smokefree families.

The scheme was officially launched in June 2015, with an event held at one of the authority’s schools. Signs were erected at all of Wrexham’s 60 primary schools asking parents and carers not to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes at the school gate.

At the launch event, the children designed smokefree goody bags which they took home so they could share best practice with their parents and smoking cessation services were also present to provide support to parents who wanted to quit.

And last but by no means least, Smoke Free Wrexham launched the Smoke Free Playgrounds initiative in July 2013. Smoke Free Wrexham had been keen to introduce smokefree areas in children’s playgrounds and were encouraged to take this forward following a campaign by ASH Wales.

The campaign led by ASH Wales, an organisation working to achieve a smokefree Wales, saw them lobby every council to introduce smokefree playgrounds across Wales. Alongside the call to action, ASH Wales produced an interactive map which turned green whenever a local authority implemented smokefree playgrounds and remained red if they hadn’t done anything.

Wrexham’s town and community councils were engaged with the voluntary ban and in-turn 110 play areas across the authority to become smokefree areas. Signs went up across all of Wrexham’s play areas and informal feedback from park rangers has suggested there has been a positive reduction of smoking-related litter.

“As a partnership group, building on the success of smokefree spaces so far we are looking to build on this and develop more of them as we work towards our aspiration of creating a Smoke Free town,” said Chris Roberts, Chair of Smoke Free Wrexham.

For further information on any of the projects in this case study, contact Sarah Grimley from Wrexham County Borough Council’s Performance, Improvement and Partnerships team.

 

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