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Smoking ban scheme for children’s play areas

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Signs aimed at persuading people not to smoke in children’s play areas are being installed in parks across Harrogate district, following a successful trial last year.

Council officials hope is the signs stating - We play here. Please don’t smoke in our play area - will make people think twice before they smoke near children’s play areas, reducing the possibility of passive smoking.

In 2014, the council carried out a public consultation on what people thought about the issue of smoking in children’s play areas and 80 per cent of the responses were in favour of action being taken.

As a result, signs were trialled in three of the council’s play areas: Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, Fysche Hall Field near Knaresborough Pool and Ripon Spa Park.

The feedback from those sites has been positive and anecdotal evidence suggests the number of people smoking in, or immediately around the play areas, has reduced.

With joint funding from Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council’s ‘smoke free places’ fund, another 24 signs are now being installed across the district.

Eventually, it’s hoped signs will be displayed in all 60 of the council’s play areas.

Coun Andy Paraskos, cabinet member with responsibility for play areas, said: “I’m really pleased we’re able to extend this scheme to more of our play areas.

“It isn’t about telling people what they can or can’t do in our parks – the no smoking message is voluntary.

“Instead, we just want smokers to think twice before they light-up where youngsters are playing.

“Passive smoking is a serious issue, especially for children, who are at much greater risk from respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke.”