Wakefield Council is urging people and organisations across the district to sign up and support Breathe 2025, a campaign which aims for children to grow up smokefree and protected from health harms caused by tobacco.
The region has the highest adult smoking prevalence in England (20.1% compared to an England average of 18%) and one in eight 15-year-olds smoke. But the proportion of young smokers is dropping. Within the next decade there could be a generation of children that don’t smoke.
Smoking is a major health concern as it causes a number of diseases including cancer and heart disease.
Evidence suggests that if young people don’t start using tobacco by the age of 26 they will almost certainly never start.
As part of an overall plan to make smoking less commonplace, this spring the council is launching a Smokefree Play Parks scheme.
The council is smokefree, which means people can’t smoke outside its buildings. Signs will be put up in play parks across the district asking parents and guardians to not smoke in them. This is to help make the habit less commonplace in the future than it currently is in day to day life.
Coun Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Children are heavily influenced by adults around them and those whose parents or guardians smoke are four times as more likely to start themselves. So we want to encourage adults to think about how they can support their children’s health now and in the future.”
Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health at Wakefield Council, said: “Around one in two smokers die from a smoking-related illness. If we can prevent young people from smoking, that’s not just an investment in their health as individuals, it’s an investment in a healthier future for everyone.”