SMOKERS will be urged not to light up in Formby playgrounds in a bit to stop children picking up their first cigarette.
From September, signs will be put up in all play areas across Sefton, asking parents to stub it out.
The move is a breath of fresh air for parents and anti-smoking supporters.
Back in March, a survey was carried out with more than 90% of people backing the move to stop smoking in playgrounds.
Heart of Mersey, the charity fronting the campaign, insists that smokers are not banned from the play areas, rather it is a voluntary code which they are asking people to abide by. They hope that by not seeing smokers at a young age, children will be less tempted to ever want to try a cigarette.
Across Sefton, one in 20 children light up before their 15th birthday, and almost 20% are smokers.
In a report which went before Cabinet members, director of public health for Sefton Council and NHS Sefton Dr Janet Atherton said: “Children become aware of cigarettes at an early age. Three out of four children are aware of cigarettes before they reach the age of five irrespective of whether or not their parents smoke.”
The campaign was approved at the Cabinet meeting on August 16.
Jo McCullagh, tobacco control programme lead at Heart of Mersey, said: “Smoking remains the greatest cause of preventable disease, disability and health inequalities nationally and locally. In Sefton, nearly one in five people smoke (19.6%) so we are absolutely delighted that Sefton Council and NHS Sefton have worked in partnership with Heart of Mersey to protect future generations of children from the harm done by tobacco.”
Intensive care nurse Christine Mercer, 55, from Southbank Road, agreed with the plans after seeing the effects of smoking daily. “Children and youths can copy their parents if they see them smoking in parks. A lot of youths think it is ‘cool’ to smoke too.”
The scheme will be rolled out across the borough in September after a big launch even.