Norfolk football clubs sign up to drive to ban smoking on the sidelines
- Credit: NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group
Football clubs across Norfolk are signing up to a campaign to ban smoking on the touchlines at youth matches.
Nearly 30 clubs have backed the 'Smokefree Sidelines' drive, through which parents and visitors are asked to refrain from smoking, including at all playing fields and, especially, on the pitch sidelines.
Among those backing the campaign, developed by NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group as part of its Healthy Norwich programme, in partnership with Norfolk County FA, is Horsford Football Club.
Chris Brown, chairman, said: 'Horsford FC were on board with Smokefree Sidelines the moment we received the information from Norfolk FA.
'Predominately we operate on a primary school site which has always been Smokefree, we then felt that the Smokefree Sidelines initiative should be applied to all our other venues that we use.
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'We want all our players to have role models in their lives, and those that are supporting them on the side of the pitch should lead by example with respect and by being Smokefree.'
Health bosses say that, not only is secondhand smoke dangerous, but children copy adult behaviour, so not having adults smoking around them sends out a positive message.
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Shoudlham Youth Football Club in west Norfolk is another championing the campaign.
Chairman Phil Riedlinger said: 'At Shouldham Youth Football Club we believe that we have the responsibility and ability to influence all of our young member's lives.
'Youth football is not just about playing the game but teaches our children key life skills like teamwork, commitment, respect and how to win and lose.
'Smokefree Sidelines has been a wonderful opportunity to get our players and their parents to think about a key health issue and modify behaviors.
'It has also led to some of our children challenging their parents smoke resulting in changing behaviour.'
Healthy Norwich's Rachel Hunt said: 'We are delighted at the positive support received from Norfolk FA and local clubs, who are very keen to champion the smokefree messages.'
If you – or anyone you know – smokes and would like NHS support to quit, search online for Smokefree Norfolk or call 0800 0854 113.