Demand for smokefree events and spaces with children present is high in Knowsley, according to a new survey. 77% of people in Knowsley questioned were supportive of smokefree outdoor events for children and families, with only 11% opposed.
The survey results have been released as a fresh, new campaign, Smokefree Summer, launches in Knowsley this week. The campaign is a new initiative running across Cheshire and Merseyside during Summer 2015 which will see a series of family-friendly events in the area becoming smokefree to protect children by reducing their exposure to smoking behaviour.
The smokefree events will also help to reduce litter and reduce the chances of young children picking up and potentially eating cigarette butts that are toxic.
As part of Smokefree Summer the Knowsley Feelgood Festival, at Court Hey Park, Huyton on August 8 from 1-5pm will be the first smokefree event of the campaign in Knowsley. The Feelgood Festival aims to promote health and wellbeing – both physical and mental – and so making the event smokefree was an easy decision. Full details of the festival can be found online at www.knowsleyflowershow.com.
Carmen Scully from Prescot said: “I’ve smoked for far too long, it was just what everyone else was doing. I don’t see smokefree spaces as another way of preaching to existing smokers but as a way of preventing new smokers from starting. I want to see a better environment for my daughter to grow up in. The smokefree events can help children and young people because the less they see smokers the less desirable they will find it. I want more smokefree spaces and events because I don’t want my daughter, Alice, to make the same mistake as I did.”
Smokefree Summer has been co-ordinated by local social enterprise Tobacco Free Futures which has worked together with local authorities and event organisers across Cheshire and Merseyside.
Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “In Knowsley we’re working hard to reduce the harm caused by tobacco so we’re delighted to take part in the smokefree summer initiative. I’m sure that families will very much welcome the opportunity to come along to the Feelgood Festival and enjoy themselves, not only knowing they won’t be inhaling secondhand smoke but also that a really positive healthy way of life is being promoted – which, after all is what our Feelgood Festival is all about.”
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures said: “Young people consistently overestimate the prevalence of smoking, with 60% thinking it’s the ‘norm’, when in reality four out of five people don’t smoke in the North West. Smokefree summer has been created to increase the amount of clean and healthy environments that children and families play in, helping children to understand that smoking isn’t a normal activity. This isn’t about protecting children from secondhand smoke in outdoor spaces, rather its promoting healthy behaviour to children. The more events that become smokefree, the less likely children are to take up smoking – preventing them from entering into a deadly addiction that kills one in two long-term smokers.”
If you are thinking about quitting smoking you can contact Smoke Free Knowsley by calling 0800 915 5959/ 08003247111 or visiting www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk