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Families flock to Finsbury fun day as smoke free park drive starts

PUBLISHED: 11:12 03 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:12 03 June 2015

Cllr Webbe with park users young and old

Cllr Webbe with park users young and old

Rick Treister 2015

Celebration as cigarettes are banned from playgrounds

Youngsters enjoying Islington's smoke free parksYoungsters enjoying Islington's smoke free parks

A ground-breaking scheme to ban smoking in every Islington playground has kicked into gear.

On May 21, families flocked to King’s Square Gardens, in Finsbury, for a fun day to launch the new initiative – given the nod by the town hall in March.

While Islington Council can’t actually fine smokers, posters and signs have been put up in playgrounds across the borough calling on parents not to smoke where children are playing.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We’re asking adults to do the responsible thing and avoid smoking in our parks, particularly in the areas where children and young people – who don’t have a choice about this– are playing. We are also extending this to include play areas on our council housing estates.

“It is not right to make children breathe in second hand smoke and this drive is designed to reduce their exposure to it at a young age.

“We found smokers responded well during the pilot.

“Not only does it remove the normalisation of smoking, it will also cut the amount of litter that has to be removed from these play areas.

“We know we have Islington residents’ support for this initiative.”

The town hall say 93 per cent of park users are in favour of playgrounds being smokefree and during a pilot last year, smokers were found to be receptive when approached by Islington’s park keepers and given advice.

For help and advice on quitting smoking, call 0800 093 9030, or visit smokefreeislington.nhs.uk

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