A ‘voluntary ban’ prohibiting smoking in Aylesbury’s parks has been launched as part of a pilot initiative.
Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury District Council are piloting the Smokefree Parks initiative, which asks people to avoid lighting up when in parks or children’s play areas.
Signs will be installed asking park users to avoid smoking, and the county council’s public health team will be working with schools to increase awareness of the ban with children and parents.
In a survey carried out for the county council earlier this month, 30 out of 32 people interviewed supported a voluntary ban.
Carl Etholen, the county council’s deputy cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “We need to do everything we can to stop children getting positive messages about smoking, and this pilot initiative is a good first step in getting people to realise that smoking isn’t acceptable in places where youngsters play.
“It’s really positive that the parents we surveyed, including the smokers, were right behind a voluntary ban in such places.”
In a statement explaining the move, the county council added: “Smoking is smelly, expensive and very bad for your health - so why do so many teenagers take up the habit?
“Evidence indicates that young people’s attitudes to smoking are influenced by various signals they get telling them that smoking is culturally acceptable - and even quite exciting.
“Perhaps the greatest influence on younger children’s attitudes is the association of smoking with being grown up. The family has the greatest responsibility in this but any positive environment where smoking is taking place tends to make children feel that it’s a normal and enjoyable social activity.
“Positive attitudes to smoking instilled in childhood can help teenagers make the wrong decisions on smoking later on, especially with the additional effects of peer pressure – and so we get another generation of smokers.”