Playgrounds run by Lambeth council are to go smokefree – and if the ban is successful it could be extended to whole parks and other public spaces across the borough.
The ban should also cut down on the estimated 26 tonnes of litter from cigarette butts in Lambeth every year, said a Lambeth council spokesperson.
“These butts can take up to 12 years to biodegrade and are dangerous to young children who may ingest them.
“In addition to the butts are the boxes, cellophane, lighters, paper and pouches that can blight parks and playgrounds and cost money to clean up.”
Cllr Ed Davie, Lambeth council’s cabinet member for health, says: “Children are particularly vulnerable to second-hand smoke, which has been linked to an increased risk of a range of illnesses including asthma, wheezing, and middle ear infections.”
Children from Jessop primary school in Herne Hill have helped design signs that will be going up in playgrounds and parks across the borough. The winning design features children playing asking people not to smoke where they play.
Cllr Davie added: “Through their posters, the children have told us loud and clear, that they don’t want people smoking near them. “Lambeth council believes that our children and young people have a right to play, meet their friends and take part in sports in a clean, smokefree environment.”
A council spokesperson added: “Based on the experience of similar bans on train platforms and other public spaces the restriction and signs should reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.
“It also limits the space where smoking is seen as ‘normal’ in a bid to discourage people from the habit which kills half of all smokers and many more who breathe other people’s second-hand smoke.”
Lambeth council, police officers and members of the public will be asked to enforce the ban by pointing out the signs to anyone smoking in playgrounds.
Cllr Davie gave out prizes for the posters at a special ceremony held during Jessop’s assembly on Tuesday (July17). (Source: Lambeth council’s ‘Love Lambeth’ website)