Play parks in Larne are set to become ‘smoke-free’ zones after a new initiative was launched by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council this week.
The council’s Smoke-Free Play Park Campaign has been rolled out across all 69 play parks within the borough - the first council area to introduce such a scheme.
Signs will be in place in the parks promoting a smoke-free environment.
The campaign is a result of a collaborative partnership between two council teams, Regulatory Services and Parks, supported and led by Gillian McAtackney, whose post within council is funded by the Public Health Agency.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid said: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have an important role to play in leading the way in the creation of an environment for our people to enjoy longer and healthier lives.
“I am proud to be part of a campaign which will protect the right of everyone to breathe fresh air.
“Council is committed to creating a vibrant, healthy, prosperous, safe and sustainable community for all. Our focus is always to improve the quality of life for those who live in or visit the borough through the services we provide and having smoke free play parks will significantly contribute to this.”
Maurice Meehan, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement for the Northern Area with the PHA, said: “We are proud to be working with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and this new campaign aimed at protecting children and young people from exposure to smoking behaviours.
“Smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness, premature death and health inequality throughout Northern Ireland and, sadly, one in every two smokers die early because of their smoking habit.
“If we are to reduce the numbers of young people taking up smoking, it is vital that we reduce children’s exposure to smoking wherever we can for a number of reasons.
“It is our hope that smoke-free parks will act as a polite request to encourage adults not to smoke in areas primarily used by children, creating a more pleasant environment. The signage acts as a simple but powerful deterrent. Similar signs have been very well received by primary schools here so it is brilliant to see this initiative extend to other areas frequented by children.”
For more information and to keep up to date you can go to www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/parks