Primary school gates become smoke-free zones
20 February 2017
“Be kind to our hearts and lungs” – that’s the message from pupils at Garth Primary in Maesteg, where a new county-wide initiative has been launched which asks parents to stop smoking outside school gates.
Smoke-free gates plaques will soon appear outside all primary schools in Bridgend County Borough, and local smokers are encouraged to please respect the voluntary ban.
The smoke-free gates initiative is supported by Public Health Wales, Bridgend County Borough Council, and other partners including ASH Wales Cymru, Stop Smoking Wales, and the ABMU Health Board.
Councillor Charles Smith, the council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “We are proud to become the latest local authority in Wales to make all primary school gates smoke-free zones.
“Some parents on the school run have a quick cigarette at the beginning or the end of the school day at the gates, but these signs will help to discourage them from lighting up.
“When they were surveyed, 81 per cent of Garth pupils said that their young lungs were exposed to either ‘a little ‘or ‘a lot’ of second-hand smoke outside school. That exposure can be extremely damaging to lungs that are still growing.
“Research also shows that young people are highly influenced by others smoking around them. Those with a parent who smokes are 70 per cent more likely to take up the habit, so it is hoped that initiatives such as this will help to further drum home the message among young people that smoking carries significant health risks.”
Councillor Smith added: “Cigarette butts are also the most littered item in the world. So, not only will this ban make our school gates healthier places, but it will also make them cleaner.”
Liz Newbury-Davies at Public Health Wales, said: "We're very excited about the launch of smoke-free school gates initiative. The normalisation of healthy behaviours is key in helping to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people.
"Smoke-free school gates will not only be beneficial to the health of the school population but will also positively impact on the environment. We are delighted to have worked in collaboration with Bridgend County Borough Council on this exciting public health campaign."
Julie Thomas, Head Teacher of Garth Primary School, said: “We were delighted to have been asked to host the launch of the ‘Smoke Free School Gates’ initiative on behalf of Bridgend County Borough schools.
“At Garth Primary School, we are passionate about improving the health and well-being of our pupils. As a ‘Rights Respecting’ school, we recognise that it’s our responsibility to ensure that children are protected from harm. The campaign will support us in our endeavours to develop resilient, informed and confident young citizens.”
Lots of help is available locally for smokers who want to quit. Please visit www.stopsmokingwales.com to find out more.