Evening Telegraph

Smoking ban may be introduced in Dundee playparks

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Council bosses are considering banning smoking in playparks as early as next spring in a bid to improve public health.

Proposals to introduce smoke-free areas at children’s outdoor play facilities have been put to community representatives.

The move is part of efforts to reduce kids’ exposure to smoking.

Proposals such as these have been encouraged by the Scottish Government’s tobacco control strategy, which aims to further curb the areas in which people can smoke following the indoor smoking ban.

Blair Finlay, Dundee City Council’s public health improvement officer, said the aim of the initiative was to reduce children’s likelihood of starting to smoke themselves.

He said: “Smoking is often a childhood addiction. Evidence has shown that most adult smokers started smoking at a young age.

“Young people are most at risk of becoming smokers themselves if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm.

“The aim of tobacco control is to change social norms and work to prevent the uptake of smoking.

“One approach to address this is to promote children’s play facilities/spaces as smoke-free areas.”

Dundee would not be the first city to trial such a scheme. Inverclyde Council introduced a voluntary ban in playparks, and 90% of those surveyed on the proposal backed it.

Initially, the ban would target the play areas in city and country parks such as Camperdown, with signs erected around play areas to notify adults that they are in a smoke-free zone.

If successful, the signage would then be expanded to all public parks across the city. Mr Finlay added that, if implemented, the ban would be voluntary — rather than enforceable by law — relying on people’s “goodwill” to make it a success.

He continued: “Making playgrounds smoke-free decreases the opportunity for children to see adults smoking around them. Children are influenced by what they see and young people are most at risk of becoming smokers themselves if they grow up in communities where smoking is the norm.

“The most effective way to prevent young people from becoming smokers is to encourage adult smokers to quit and to remove young people’s exposure to smoking behaviours.”

The council is currently collecting feedback on the proposal from the city’s local community planning partnerships.

If there is consensus on taking the proposal forward, a paper will be drafted and presented to the policy and resources committee before the end of the year.