CIEH calls for 'no smoking zones' across Wales wherever children play or learn

Publication Date: 26th September 2016

Subject: Public health

  • CIEH calls for voluntary ‘no smoking zones’ to be implemented across Wales wherever children play or learn  
  • YouGov survey finds that 91% of adults in Wales would support a smoking ban in children’s play areas and 65% of all adults in Wales would support a smoking ban in public parks  
  • World Environmental Health Day (WEHD) is on Monday 26 September, an international event with tobacco control as the theme for 2016  

On World Environmental Health Day (WEHD) the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is calling for voluntary ‘no smoking zones’ to be implemented across Wales wherever children play or learn.

CIEH, a membership body for Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs), is calling to extend no smoking zones at the same time as revealing results from a YouGov survey.

The YouGov survey found that 91% of adults in Wales would support a smoking ban in children’s play areas. 65% of adults in Wales would also support a smoking ban in public parks, which is the strongest backing for such a ban compared to the other regions in Britain.

In Wales there are various examples of no smoking zones* and CIEH suggests that extending no smoking zones would help protect children’s health and reduce the perception among young people that smoking is normal behaviour.

Julie Barratt, Director of CIEH Wales, said “It is abundantly clear that the vast majority of people would support restrictions on smoking in children’s play areas.

“We would like to see smoking being stubbed out wherever children play or learn. This would not only include children’s playgrounds but would see no smoking zones extended to public parks, zoos, and theme parks.

“Children should be able to have fun and enjoy themselves without having to see someone smoking and thinking that is normal behaviour.”

CIEH commissioned YouGov to conduct a survey on people’s attitudes towards smoking and protecting children. The release of the survey results coincides with World Environmental Health Day, an international event to highlight the work of EHPs in protecting and improving people’s health, safety and wellbeing.

The theme for WEHD in 2016 is tobacco control and CIEH is recognising the work of their members and the wider environmental health community in supporting smoke-free environments.

Other key findings from the YouGov survey include:

  • 42% of parents have moved their children away when someone they know was smoking near their children and only 12% said they have asked others to stop smoking nearby, with 7% having asked them to move away  
  • Around two-thirds of people in Wales (63%) think that more should be done to raise awareness of the need for smoke-free public places  

CIEH also surveyed their network of local authority Environmental Health Managers working across the UK. The results showed that 61% thought that their authority would support the extension of no smoking policies to children’s play areas**.

Since July 2007, smoking has been prohibited in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed work and public places in England and throughout the United Kingdom including public transport and work vehicles.

The law has not yet been applied to open spaces and CIEH would like to see local action to create additional ‘no smoking zones’ in order to further protect children’s health and wellbeing.

Julie Barratt added: “When children do not see people smoking in-front of them, they will stop thinking that smoking is a normal activity and there is evidence to show that this will go a long way in helping to reduce the number of young people taking up the addictive habit in the first place.”

ENDS  

Notes to editors  

For more information or requests for interviews, please contact Julie Barratt on 01633 865533 or 07919 212664

Statistics

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,300 adults, of which 1,033 were parents of children aged 18 or under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 17th August 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

**Results from EH Managers Survey:
http://data.surveygizmo.com/r/65923_57bac52d265940.83233236 

*Case studies 

Little Haven, Pembrokeshire  

The Havens Community Council, supported by Pembrokeshire County Council, introduced a smoking ban on Little Haven Beach, the first beach in Wales to go smokefree. In addition to improving health, the ban has meant that there is less litter, dangers to local wildlife have been reduced from ingesting cigarette butts and local businesses and tourist attractions have been given a boost as people have actively sought out the smokefree beach in Little Haven. http://www.cieh.org//WEHD2016/Little-Haven-leads-the-way-for-smokefree-beaches-in-Wales.html 

Caswell Bay, Swansea  

As part of Swansea’s Healthy City commitment, supporting the increasing movement in Wales towards further smoke-free environments, a trial smoke-free beach was introduced at Caswell Bay for the 2016 summer season. http://www.cieh.org/WEHD2016/Taking-a-lead-in-public-health-Swanseas-smoke-free-public-spaces.html 

Wrexham 

Over the past few years, an innovative health partnership in North-East Wales known as Smoke Free Wrexham has established several smokefree environments covering bus playgrounds, school gates and more recently bus shelters. http://www.cieh.org/WEHD2016/Partnership-in-North-East-Wales-implements-different-smokefree-areas-several-years-running.html 

The Law 

Smoke-free legislation prohibits smoking by law in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed workplaces and public places throughout the United Kingdom. “Substantially enclosed” means premises or structures with a ceiling or roof (including retractable structures such as awnings) and where there are permanent openings, other than windows or doors, which in total are less than half of the area of the walls. The law also applies to public transport and work vehicles which are used by more than one person at any time and more recently, since October 2015, private vehicles in England and Wales must be smoke-free when children under the age of 18 are present.

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):  

CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing over 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.

For more information visit www.cieh.org and follow CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH.

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