Smoking ban ‘in all playparks’ in Hartlepool to protect children

Louise Wallace
Louise Wallace

A HEALTH taskforce could make all public playgrounds in Hartlepool smoke free to help prevent youngsters taking up smoking.

Hartlepool’s Smoke Free Alliance is working towards the goal as part of its annual action plan.

The multi-partner agency says preventing children in town from taking up the habit is one of its top priorities as it tries to drive down Hartlepool’s high smoking rates.

Hartlepool Smoke Free Alliance is co-ordinated by Hartlepool Borough Council and representatives include the stop smoking service, hospital trust, health commissioners, anti-smoking group Fresh North East and Healthwatch Hartlepool.

Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said in a report: “One action currently being pursued is to make all children’s playgrounds in Hartlepool smoke free in line with the ethos of making smoking history for our children.

“Fresh has developed resources to introduce voluntary measures using the strap line ‘we copy what we see, thanks for keeping our park smoke free’.”

Councillors on the finance and policy committee will be asked to give their backing to the alliance’s action plan when it meets tomorrow.

It also highlights a lack of support for young people who want to quit smoking.

The report says smoking rates have fallen in Hartlepool since 2005, but an estimated 17,200 adults (23.5 per cent) still smoke regularly.