Smoke-free playparks come to Witney

Children in Witney can enjoy playgrounds without the risk of second-hand smoke as Oxfordshire County Council and Witney Town Council install signage with the hope of creating more smokefree environments around the town.

Smokefree Witney 3Research has found that children are four times more likely to start smoking if their parents smoke. A recent survey found that 90 per cent of local Oxfordshire smokers agreed with the idea of creating smokefree parks to help change people’s behaviour regarding smoking around children and reduce the chance of them taking it up later in life.

Councillor Michael O’Connor, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Equalities, said: “Our ambition is for Oxfordshire to be a smokefree county, which means less than five per cent of the population smoke. One of the main pillars of our tobacco control strategy, which will help us to achieve this aim, is creating smokefree environments.

“As well as helping to ‘de-normalise’ smoking around children, creating these smokefree environments will help to reduce the risk of exposure to second-hand smoke.

“Town and parish councils are well placed to support us in promoting smokefree environments in our local communities. That is why we are delighted to be able to work with Witney Town Council on this project.”

The signage has been funded by Oxfordshire County Council’s Smokefree CSmokefree Witney 4ommunity Fund, a fund in which voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations can apply for up to £1,000 to create smokefree spaces or hold a smokefree event.  

Witney Town Council hosted a competition for the designs on the signage for local children and had multiple entries. Winners were decided and the drawings were used for the main image on the signs. The signs will be placed at 10 playparks in Witney.

Councillor, Dr Ruth Smith, Leader of Witney Town Council said: "We were delighted with the winning designs – the children really grasped the message. Congratulations Ivy, Harry, Scarlett, Tommy, Rosie and Theodore.

"As vaping increases in popularity, we agree that the time is right to remind everyone that smoking and vaping where people are trying to enjoy the outdoors is not on. We hope this is a healthy message and a healthy measure for children."

Oxfordshire residents can receive free support to stop smoking using the local stop smoking service, Stop for Life Oxon. More information can be found by visiting Stop for Life Oxon’s website, by calling 0800 122 3790 or texting STOPOXON to 60777.

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